Chappie review

>Mr Blomkamp's latest is a truly awful mess. God help the next Alien movie if it's of the quality of this crappy sci-fi slugfest. It's overlong, overstuffed and over-the-top, peopled with characters that have not one likeable trait.

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.

Chappie at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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