Chappie Is Loud, Messy, and Surprisingly Radical

March 5, 2015 5:36 AM

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Chappie is a movie that somehow blends Bicentennial Man with Pacific Rim. It’s a big-budget science fiction movie with one of the best ever CG-capture performances not by Andy Serkis. It features Sigourney Weaver as a glorified window dressing executive, Hugh Jackman wearing a mullet and his shirt tucked into khaki shorts, and South African hip-hop group Die Antwoord playing loosely fictionalized gun-loving versions of themselves. It has a giant robot fight and completely earnest scenes of an engineer trying to teach a robot to paint. The fact that it exists at all is something of a miracle. And the only person who could have made it is Neill Blomkamp.

Blomkamp is one of the most distinctive science fiction directors of the modern era. Watching his first film, District 9, it’s easy to see why—a saga of aliens roped into a ghetto in Blomkamp’s hometown of Johannesburg, it’s one of the most acclaimed genre films of the last few years, mixing well-de...

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