It was a good idea but was directed badly. For most of film I kept asking myself if it was a joke or if I was hallucinating. Surely no one could have intentionally created characters as ridiculous and a script so lame as this. So, the plot goes: Dev 'Slumdog' Patel plays a scientist who has created a robot police force which has cut crime in Johannesburg by 90%. Hugh Jackman, his rival in the same robotics company and is himself looking for approval to deploy his own much larger robot. It's just like the plot of Robocop, but instead of having Clarence Boddicker and his gang to deal with, the robot police have a collection of unlikely and brightly coloured villains, who look like characters from 90's video games.
After an accident one robot in the factory is due to be scrapped, but Dev Patel saves him and implants his new breakthrough artificial intelligence software into the droid's memory. The mindless automaton becomes self aware but has the mind of a child - at which point the young scientist is kidnapped by a gang of criminals, who intend to use 'Chappie' the newly conscience robot, to pull off a daring heist. Now most of the film is wasted with the attempts of the inept and quite frankly ridiculous looking criminals to teach Chappie how to be a criminal. These bad ass gangsters have an affinity for brightly coloured things, crap haircuts, and even worse tattoos. That, and acting from the trio of crims leaves a lot to be desired. Hugh Jackman, who looks just as silly as the criminals in this weird film, looking like a cross between Indian Jones and Steve Irwin, eventually turns bad, and tries to kill everyone in sight with his huge battle robot - 'The Moose'.
If it weren't for the battle scenes I'd have 2 starred this film. The entertaining and impressive special effects during such scenes was just what I was expecting from Blomkamp. It's just a shame that he didn't pay as much attention to the rest of the film. It could have been the new Short Circuit (or a least a very violent Short Circuit.) I liked the ending, which leaves every wondering about a possible sequel. All in all, a bit of a misfire from Blomkamp who, as he proved with District 9, is capable of a lot better.