Critics chew up and spit out this Chappie

2015-03-15 15:00

The newest film by South African director Neill Blomkamp, who shot into Hollywood’s stratosphere with his 2009 debut District 9, has been roundly panned by international critics.

Entertainment Weekly (EW) this week did a round-up of what critics around the world said about Chappie – and most loathed the sci-fi film.

The movie has done reasonably well at the box office, taking home more than $13?million (R162?million) on its opening weekend in the US.

Chappie, Blomkamp’s third film, is the story of a repurposed police robot that is programmed by his idealistic creator, Deon (Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel), to be sentient.

Chappie the robot is voiced by another South African, Sharlto Copley.

He falls in with a group of troublemakers who want to use him as a weapon.

“[They] teach him how to be a cartoonish gang-banger and plan to use him to execute a big money heist while Deon struggles to take his creation back,” EW’s Kyle Anderson writes in his review. “What follows is an hour of a reasonable-enough meditation on parenting styles followed by an inevitable series of too-loud action beats sparked by Deon’s rival engineer Vincent (Hugh Jackman, just inhaling scenery) and a ridiculous series of events involving the full download of human consciousness.”

Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail called Chappie “one of those incongruous Franken-films that’s simultaneously bombastically brutal and treacly”, while entertainment magazine Variety described the central character as “so frankly unappealing he almost makes [Star Wars’] Jar-Jar Binks seem like tolerable company by comparison”.

Kenneth Turan, in a review for the Los Angeles Times, said Chappie was “close to unwatchable for long stretches of time”.

The Hollywood Reporter praised Die Antwoord’s Yo-Landi Vi$$er, “whose punky veneer nicely melts into motherly concern and warmth”, but had nothing good to say about the rest of the cast.

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