Chappie – What RoboCop remake should've been


Really enjoyed watching Chappie (2015) last night. It’s the third movie from Neill Blomkamp, the director of District 9 (2009) and Elysium (2013). RoboCop meets District 9.

Okay, Elysium could be better, but I got a serious kick out of District 9 and Chappie was right up my alley. The story is set in Johannesburg that looks eerie as it is. To sum it up without giving too much of the plot away let me say that the gang of small-caliber criminals are tricking a self-concious robot into the life of crime. Abandoned buildings, crime, poverty and luxury are mixed up in the melting pot of South Africa. Throw in some police robots and you get the idea.

The Vodacom building in Johannesburg was already deserted in 2006 and apparently not in a better condition now.

With the addition of Die Antwoord who are playing a somewhat altered version of themselves things started to feel simply surreal. Unfortunately apart from the Die Antwoord duo and the guy playing Hippo other characters looked like they got in Johannesburg by mistake. Enough with being picky though, despite the miscasts and occasional plot holes I could not get my eyes off the screen.

If you liked the original RoboCop (1987) – Chappie is going to strike similar chords. Another movie that comes to mind and relatively unknown these days is Short Circut (1986) – I was so impressed when I was a kid I’ve watched it seven times in the movies.

Okay back then they didn’t make Jonny Five or Alex Murphy rob other people and wear bling, so expect a different kind of entertainment here. Gangsta-style with the required plot devices preserved: Good robot – check, Big bad robot – check, thugs, gangs – oh yeah.

Wish I could watch it with kids, but the degree of f-word usage and some graphic scenes near the last third of the movie makes it not very family-friendly. My daughter didn’t like it at all:

— I don’t want to watch it, they are being mean to the robot

Too bad the RoboCop (2015) remake turned out pretty bland in comparison to the original. Like a direct-to-video sequel that were released in abundance in the 90s. Chappie kicks some serious ass.

Oh and if you like retro-fitted dystopian robotic future, check out Edge of Tomorrow (2014) that one is kids-friendly even.

And I am off to seeing District 9 again.


Nick Ostrovsky

Full-stack designer. I like everything minimailitic and simple as possible.

Started with Web and Graphics, moved to User Experience and Interfaces, then to Team Lead and CTO. Contributed to projects for major brands such as L'Oreal, JTI and AB InBev among others. Currently working as an independent contractor.