starring Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman
screenplay by Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell
directed by Neill Blomkamp
starring Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, James Marsden
screenplay by Steven Conrad
directed by Ken Scott
by Walter Chaw The schadenfreude winner of the week is Neill Blomkamp's benighted trainwreck of a fanfic reel Chappie, which presents a horrific tale of how a child raised by art-rap band Die Antwoord would grow to be this unholy Frankenstein of Sharlto Copley and Jar Jar Binks and Gorillaz and a mechanical rabbit. It's a mess. The completion of the Short Circuit trilogy no one was asking for, it's also an update of not only the Verhoeven RoboCop, complete with ED-209, but Blomkamp's own District 9 as well in its themes of class inequality, sentience, and transformation. In its favour is how legendarily irritating the Chappie character is, to the point that when the slo-mo "hero strut" happens in the second half, the compulsion to punch the movie in its neck is nigh irresistible. To its detriment, Chappie purports to have solved the puzzle of digitized sentience, Transcendence-style, and in the process gifted immortality to Björk-lite squeaker Yolandi Visser. That's at least Fourth Circle of Hell stuff right there.