Chappie Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley, Ninja
  • Format: Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: June 16, 2015
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2018
  • Run Time: 90 minutes

  • Robocop meets Wall-E

            Still riding off of his success with District 9, Neill Blomkamp’s latest sci-fi action thriller has many of the same themes and similar visions of a future/alternate world. District 9, Elysium, and Chappie would make an extremely coherent and obvious triple-feature, and it would also show the fast decline of Blomkamp. I can only hope that this isn’t a sign of what he will do to the Alien franchise, which is set as his next project.


            The basic premise of the film is not exactly flawed, though it reeks of Hollywood contrivance. Taking place in Blomkamp’s now-familiar setting of South Africa (Johannesburg is to Blomkamp as Manhattan is to Woody Allen) in the near-future, a police force of robots patrol the streets. One of the programmers, Dean Wilson (Dev Patel), creates the program for artificial intelligence and implants it in one of the defective police droids. This is upsetting to jealous co-worker and warmonger Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman). Sigourney Weaver also has a role as the boss in charge, but all of these cast members are vastly underused in favor of a few poisonous additions to the screenplay and film. Even Blomkamp regular Sharlto Copley as Chappie can’t save the film from his love of rap-rave group Die Antwoord.


            Not only is the grating music highly over-utilized within the film’s soundtrack, Chappie falls into the hands of Ninja and Yo-Landi Vissor, the members of Die Antwoord playing themselves and the surrogate parents for Chappie in the film. Neither are actors, and it shows. There is no reason to say it in any other way. They are awful and dominate the movie with amateurish acting better suited for a bad independent film from a first-time director. In a special-effects-driven blockbuster such as this, these non-actors are an endurance test through every scene of dialogue. And there are far too many of these scenes to make any of the admittedly cool looking action sequences worthwhile.


            It seems that Blomkamp is a director that needs to be kept on a tight leash, so perhaps the studio control of a massive franchise like Alien will be exactly what he needs. It certainly can’t get much worse than this. The Blu-ray release attempts to make up for the film’s shortcomings with a plethora of extras. There is an assortment of additional footage, including extended scenes and an alternate ending, as well as never-ending featurettes. There is one about the joys of filming in Johannesburg (“Jozi: Real City and a Sci-Fi Setting”), as well as a featurettes about cast and their characters (“Chappie: The Streetwise Professor” “We are Tetravaal” and “Keep It Gangster”), and visual effects (“Arms Race: The Weapons and Robots,” Bringing Chappie to Life: The Visual Effects,” “Rogue Robot: Deconstructing the Stunts and Special Effects.”). Only one of the featurettes is included on the DVD. Everything else is exclusive to the Blu-ray, which is mastered in 4K. Also included in the package is a digital HD copy of the film.  


    Entertainment Value: 8/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

    Historical Significance:  4/10

    Special Features: 8/10

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