These include a nerdy scientist (Patel) who indoctrinates his pet robot Chappie (voiced by Copley) with artificial intelligence; his disgruntled and psychotic work colleague (Jackman), jealous of his rival's success in the hi-tech field and villainously determined that his own robotic creation take centre stage; and a trio of vastly annoying punk criminals who kidnap Chappie to take part in a heist.
It's set in a futuristic Johannesburg – a few of the South African accents are so thick that subtitles are required – where the police force use these lean-limbed robots for protection and guidance against all violent evildoers. But Chappie's different – he has feelings. His personality develops from child to teenager to adult in the most unattractive way, this appalling effort therefore veering from an infantile kiddie pic into a rough-house actioner with the most uncomfortable tone.
It's slickly edited but the noisy skirmishes never thrill or excite, and the characters are so relentlessly off-putting – including Weaver's one-note turn as Patel and Jackman's irritable boss – that one is never engaged with the chaotic proceedings. I looked at my watch frequently throughout, just praying for the this tiresome, unappealing farrago to finish. Avoid it at all costs.