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Film / Chappie

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RoboCop turned RoboGangsta.

”I am consciousness. I am alive. I am Chappie.”

Chappie is a 2015 sci-fi movie by Neill Blomkamp, based on his short film Tetra Vaal, about the world's first artificially-intelligent robot as he grows up in Johannesburg, South Africa. It stars Sharlto Copley, Sigourney Weaver, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, and the South African rappers Die Antwoord.

Rampant crime in Johannesburg has driven the development of droids by Tetravaal, a Private Military Contractor, to assist human police officers. Deon Wilson is a programmer working for Tetravaal who creates a truly intelligent AI that can learn, think, and feel like a human. He plans to test the AI on a damaged droid chassis, but he is forced to activate it for a gang eager to pay off a debt. Naming him "Chappie", the gangsters raise the childlike AI to help them with a heist.

This film provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: A 2015 film that takes place in 2016.
  • 555:
    • A police hotline is listed as 800-555-0199.
    • Averted with the IP address Chappie connects to near the end. The IP is assigned to and used by a Minecraft server hosting company.
  • Abandoned Warehouse: The headquarters of Ninja's gang is an empty industrial building.
  • Abusive Parents: Ninja starts out as one, treating Chappie just like a disposable android. As the film goes on, however, he gets better and even apologizes to him for lying to him about getting him a new body.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • What Hugh Jackman's character fears of Chappie. Being rather religious, he also views AI as an unnatural perversion of true life.
      "The problem with artificial intelligence is that it's too unpredictable."
    • Ultimately averted, however, since Chappie's development is entirely based upon the situations he finds himself in.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Not everyone takes kindly to Chappie. A gang of kids and teens throw rocks and even a Molotov cocktail at him. It doesn't help that he's an innocent A.I. trapped in the shell of most of the Johannesburg crime world's biggest enemy.
    Visser: Do you know what a black sheep is?
    Chappie: No.
    Visser: It's when you're different to everyone else.
  • An Arm and a Leg: When Moore captures Chappie when he's trying to find his way home, he takes a grinder and cuts Chappie's left arm off. Fortunately, Yankee had a suitable replacement available.
  • Apologetic Attacker: When Chappie attacks the bank van, he hurls one security guard onto the pavement and nails the poor guy with a pair of shurikens. However Chappie honestly thought that he was doing a good thing and the security would be falling asleep and grateful. Instead he's horrified to learn the guard is twitching in agony and terrified that Chappie is going to finish him off. So Chappie ends up apologizing profusely for what he had done.
  • Arc Words: "When you die, you will go to the next place" are used in the ending of the film, as Deon was the first one to "die" and has his consciousness placed in a robot from another place. Chappie and Yolandi also fulfill the Arc Words.
  • Armies Are Evil: Played with. The South African paramilitary police force have no desire for military robots that are designed to take on bases, Tetravaal is largely neutral, but Big Bad Moore is a former Special Forces operator who is obsessed with maintaining a professional military appearance down to carrying a gun to work and kickstarts the plot by trying to find funding for his idiotic military robot.
  • Artificial Intelligence: All of the police droids have basic AI, but Chappie's is much more advanced, and sends ripples through the AI community by the end.
  • As Himself: Anderson Cooper is actually credited as himself, but Die Antwoord play characters with their own stage names of Ninja and Yolandi.
  • Asshole Victim: During the climax, Hippo gets beaten to death with a shovel by Ninja while, in a non-lethal example, Vincent has his ass handed to him by Chappie.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Moore's MOOSE attack platform is impressively powerful, but he's trying to sell a droid meant to win a war to people just trying to deal with gangs and common criminals. As the police point out, exactly how likely is it that they're going to need to blow up bases and shoot down enemy aircraft? By contrast, the Scout series is a much cheaper humanoid droid that can be handed a gun and subdue probably 90% of the criminals it's pitted against—Hippo has to use a rocket launcher to take down Scout 22. This also comes up in its actual combat performance. Sure, the MOOSE big and well armed, but its design makes it slow and plodding in ground-combat, and it proves insufficiently armored against heavier weapons. Even small arms prove capable of damaging the fragile cameras (though it has a night-vision backup). All these flaws are possibly justified by The MOOSE being a prototype Moore was still trying to perfect, and he wasn't getting the funding to add the features he wanted. However the features he wants to add would be way too expensive for something the regular client doesn't want and regular armored cars are better for the army.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Hippo, the leader of the rival gang that Ninja and his family are butting heads with. Not only does he look fucking insane, but he also wires the perimeter of his turf with improvised explosive devices that can be detonated via clackers left in plain view, in order to disable low-flying police helicopters and to provide a quick exit. He's also responsible for the birth of Chappie, when he attacks the Police Scout Robot that becomes the centerpiece of Chappie with an RPG to the chest.
    • Moore himself is this to a slightly lesser degree. He openly threatens Deon with a gun at the office in front of everyone and laughs it off as a joke.
  • Badass Normal: Averted for Moore in opposition to Blomkamp's previous villains like Kruger or Colonel Koobus. Despite his military background, he never directly threatens Chappie or anyone else without a major advantage like a weapon, henchmen or the MOOSE, and the one confrontation is a one-sided Curb-Stomp Battle against his favour. The climax of the film makes it clear that for all his supposed "military training" and bluster he's just a loser on a power trip.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: most of the weapons in the film make heavier, bassier, more threatening sounds than they do in real life, with particular emphasis on Ninja's assault rifle that sounds like a heavy machine gun in spite of sporting a silencer. One of very few exceptions is, oddly enough, the MOOSE's minigun, whose noise is almost identical to the low-frequency drone that fast-firing rotary guns actually make in real life. Considering this happens extremely rarely in films, which almost always feature the classic rat-tat-tat noise that the audience expects, this is particularly notable.
  • Batman Gambit: Moore sabotages the police droids in an attempt to get his MOOSE approved for use in the field. This actually doesn't work, but he gets lucky when Chappie gets on the news, convincing Michelle to allow him to hunt Chappie down as a rogue element.
  • Beeping Computers: Deon's computers in his Hacker Cave make beeping noises when worked on.
  • Berserk Button: Don't lie to Chappie and don't kill his "mummy", otherwise Chappie will go postal and show just how strong a rogue police droid can be.
    • Moore does not react well to Deon suggesting that he's not really an engineer.
  • BFG: Deon steals a Denel PAW-20 from the company for the final confrontation. The MOOSE is nearly totaled in just a few shots.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Of a sort; "Chappie" is the name of a local South African gum brand.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On one hand, the droids have been shut off permanently, Amerika and Yolandi are killed, crime is still pretty rampant in Joburg and Chappie is seen as a monster by the public. On the other, Vincent's reign of madness has been stopped, Hippo is dead, Deon is saved by Chappie putting him in a robot body. If the opening news montage is any indication, Chappie will eventually be accepted by the public in some way after the events of the film have died down. Arguable whether Yolandi's case can be seen as this; whereas Deon's mind was transferred, Yolandi's was copied before her death, which means that the original Yolandi is not only gone for good, but not the same as the replica built at the end, so she will have to be brought up to speed on all the events that happened after her copying- not to mention her having to come to terms with her new existence.
  • Black Comedy: Most of the scenes with Die Antwoord have shades of this; especially when Amerika teaches Chappie to "help people sleep" by shanking them, and his first reaction is to go straight for Ninja so he can "help Daddy sleep." Ninja's reaction is priceless.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Hippo has a gold plated Kalashnikov, Ninja has a bright yellow M4 with pink magazines and Yolandi uses a pink BXP. She later grabs a pink Micro-Uzi for the heist.
  • Blown Across the Room: Chappie, in the opening raid when hit by the projectile of a grenade launcher.
  • Body Backup Drive: Yolandi and Deon die physically in the course of the movie, but both are eventually mind-uploaded into robot bodies after Chappie figures out how.
  • Bollywood Nerd: British Indian actor Dev Patel plays the scientist who brought Chappie to life.
  • Break the Haughty: After spending most of the movie being a dick towards Chappie and Deon (not to mention him turning off the robots so that he can use his MOOSE and killing Amerika and Yo-Landi), Vincent gets his ass handed to him by Chappie in the climax.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Invoked; the police hunker down and advance behind the Scouts the way they might behind riot shields.
  • Butt-Monkey: Scout Robot No.22 has a notorious reputation at Tetraval for always getting hurt despite all its titanium armour and needing to get patched up. This escalates to No.22 getting a rocket-propelled grenade in the chest and permanently damaging its battery.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Ninja and Yolandi are often listening to Die Antwoord songs, and Ninja wears two shirts advertising Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er. Word of God is that the characters were musicians who had to turn to crime to get by, so possibly these were their own music and memorabilia.
  • Character Tics: Chappie picks up Amerika's nose-wiping gesture and uses it fairly frequently, despite having no nose himself.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Chappie demonstrating the neural helmet on Yolandi.
    • When Moore sabotages the Scout droids, he's forced to hide and leaves the guard key behind.
  • Churchgoing Villain: Bad guy Vincent seems to be a hardcore Christian.
  • Clipboard of Authority: While Vincent secretly uploads his virus at Tetravaal, security guards enter the room, which prompts Vincent to grab a clipboard that would make him look like official staff. It works.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: No. 22 is brought in to have a damaged Robot Antennae replaced, and is given a bright red one apparently built for a test robot. So when it is deployed along with three other droids, it's easy to distinguish among them.
  • Coming of Age Story: In a way, it is. The film is all about how children are affected by the environment they're raised in and what kind of influences they're exposed to. Chappie himself basically goes from birth to adulthood in the span of a week, due to his ability to process information quickly and his power supply going down awfully fast.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Chappie has no desire to hurt people or commit crimes, but Ninja and Amerika influence his development. He begins to behave and talk more "gangster", and Amerika gets around his aversion to guns by telling him that people go to sleep when they are stabbed. They get him to steal cars by telling him that he is stealing them back from thieves. Ultimately averted because Chappie never willingly does anything he believes to be wrong. He apologizes to the cop he injures with shurikens, and he lets Moore live despite him having killed Yolandi (he still beat him within an inch of his life, though).
  • Cranial Processing Unit: The police droids' CPU is accessible from the back of their heads.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Yankee gets stepped on by the MOOSE, before a pincer-like appendage cuts off his upper body and throws him hard at a wall.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Vincent is absolutely no match for a super-strong and bulletproof security robot in a direct confrontation. Chappie leaves him with all his limbs broken and within an inch of his life.
  • Deconstruction: Of a military-grade Real Robot and More Dakka. When Moore tries to pitch the MOOSE to the South African Police, they laugh at it. They mostly deal with gang-bangers and crooks with beaten-up small arms, they have no need for a walking tank that can shoot down aircraft and devastate entire city blocks. Smaller, lighter humanoid robots that can pick up and use human weapons and subdue 90% of the criminals they encounter are the much better buy.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Ninja repeatedly taunts the MOOSE to buy some time for Chappie and Yolandi to get away.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength:
    • Amerika tries to teach Chappie to fist bump. He immediately regrets it, though Chappie doesn't do any significant damage. Subsequent attempts work out better.
    • Becomes a Brick Joke later — after a successful heist, Chappie and Ninja do a "gimme ten", then while Ninja is wincing and shaking his hands Chappie turns and gives Amerika a very gentle fist-bump.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Deon tells Chappie it's wrong to use guns and rob people. To offset this, Amerika teaches Chappie that it's okay to shank people with knives as it helps them go to sleep and Ninja teaches him to wield ninja stars instead. Chappie does prove willing to pick up a grenade launcher, but only because he's turning it on a non-living droid, and because the MOOSE was threatening his family.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Chappie returns after being abducted by Moore, the dialogue makes it sound more like Chappie is a molested child, referring to a white van and men he doesn't know hurting him. Also not understanding why they hurt him.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Moore sure is enjoying himself when he's blowing things up using the MOOSE.
  • Emergency Transformation: When Deon is mortally wounded, Chappie decides to upload his consciousness into a robot body.
  • EMP: Moore uses some kind of EMP gun to temporarily disable Chappie.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Ninja may be an unrepentant criminal and overall Jerkass, but he is ready to throw his life away to save Yolandi without a second thought, and is utterly heartbroken when that doesn't work out.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: A red car explodes in the opening raid scene.
  • Expressive Ears: Chappie has a pair of animal-like ears (actually antennae) on his head that help him express his emotions.
  • Expy:
  • Eye Lights Out: The droids have LED displays that turn off when they are deactivated. Chappie's display has expressive eyes, though his actual "eyes" appear to be the Apache Helicopter-esque sensor turret slung under his chin.
  • Fembot: Yolandi's droid has a humanoid, feminine face that resembles her human one.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The fictitious Republic of South Africa Police (RSAP) stands in for the real life South African Police Service (SAPS) in the film.
  • Foreshadowing: Moore brings an unloaded gun into the office to threaten Deon. He later uses a loaded gun as he's being hunted down by Chappie.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Chappie has no desire to hurt anyone, and befriends humans and dogs, thanks to Deon's "promise" lessons.
  • Gangsta Style: Ninja loves to show-off by doing this with his expensive pistol. He even trains Chappie to use a gun in this fashion. The only reason Ninja is remotely accurate is the huge sights on his gun.
  • Gatling Good: The MOOSE robot is fitted with a minigun, in addition to its other weapons.
  • Glass Cannon: The MOOSE is very heavily armed and represents a true nightmare for anyone under its guns, especially at range. However, when under fire by sufficiently determined and armed attackers it proves to have thin armor and a fair amount of weak spots, as you'd expect from a prototype that's yet to be perfected. It does quite effectively resist general fire by small arms, but a light grenade launcher carves chunks out of it, a carefully aimed large-caliber pistol shot wipes out its main optics, and a hand grenade stuck to it blows it apart completely.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Ninja uses a shovel to smash Hippo's head in, Deon's body covers the shot.
  • Grenade Launcher: Yolandi and Chappie can be seen using a PAW-20 during the film, and the MOOSE is fitted with a belt-fed Mk 19 40mm grenade launcher.
  • Hacker Cave: Ninja sets up an impromptu one comprised of a group of stolen PlayStation 4s cooled by a small household fan.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The fate of Amerika, killed by the MOOSE robot by first crushing him under its foot and then ripping out his upper part.
  • A Handful for an Eye: On seeing the police helicopters, Hippo sets off explosive charges in an attempt to damage them, and obscure his own gang in smoke.
  • Happily Adopted: Averted. Ninja just wants a robot to help them pull of an armored car heist, only Yolandi treats Chappie like the child that he mentally is.
  • Hard-Work Montage: Montage of Deon working hard to create Chappie in his Hacker Cave.
  • Hate Sink: Vincent Moore was made to be hated.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted: Ninja intended on distracting the MOOSE so Yolandi and Chappie can get away. He's even taunting him the whole time. Yolandi jumps out of the van to grab the grenade launcher and uses it to save Ninja, but she gets shot up in response before Chappie can jump in front of her. She plays it straight, however, as her attempt to save Ninja put Chappie in the area to find the detonator for the grenade he'd attached to the MOOSE earlier, allowing Chappie to finish it off and save Ninja.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Michelle Bradley. This works against her however when being supportive of Moore, despite his MOOSE project being redundant and Moore himself being a violent impulsive bully, leads to a series of events worsened by her hands off management that ultimately leads to Tetravaal losing all of its robots due to Moore's sabotage and them being made illegal.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: In the beginning of the film, Moore displays his open distrust of allowing robots with even limited AI to be used in combat. However, in a bit of irony, Chappie, a true AI, ends up being mostly a naive Technical Pacifist while Moore, while behind the controls of the MOOSE, gleefully guns down gangsters without a second thought.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Chappie's brutal (but definitely deserved) beating of Moore is amusingly punctuated with Chappie loudly lecturing him about how violence and hurting people is bad.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Watch that pistol training scene again. Ninja is holding the gun sideways, way above his sight line (so making no use of that huge sight), calls his shots and taking barely any time to aim. It's terrible form, and he shouldn't be able to do more than hit the broad side of the barn... but instead, he hits those calls shots with perfect accuracy.
  • In Medias Res: The film starts 18 months after the story, showing that the concept of Chappie has become a heated discussion on the news.
  • Inspector Javert: Hugh Jackman's character; ironic, considering he was pursued by the trope namer.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Deon sparks conscience in Chappie by just adding some genius computer code to the existing model during a Hard-Work Montage.
  • It's All About Me: It's telling that "I want everything!" is a catchphrase for Hippo.
  • Jerkass: Ninja, through most of the movie, is a violent unrepentant criminal and treats Chappie rather abusively despite being repeatedly told that Chappie has the mentality of a child.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Ninja does apologize to Chappie near the end of the film for lying about getting him a new body to replace his dying one and genuinely loves Yolandi, whose death breaks him apart. The reason he wanted to do the heist in the first place was to pay off Hippo so he would leave his "family" alone.
    • Amerika isn't so bad either. He warms up to Chappie pretty quickly, and while he doesn't outright protest Ninja's brutal tactic of leaving Chappie to fend for himself against the merciless youths, he does seem pretty grim about it, and when Chappie returns a bit worse for wear, he readily assists in repairing his sawed off arm.
  • Just a Machine: Moore tells Chappie that he isn't real, and that there is nothing in his head. Chappie proves him so, so wrong.
  • Keystone Army: Double subverted. Yolandi and Ninja initially wanted Deon to do this for them, only find out that there wasn't a universal shutoff switch for the scouts in the first place. Moore later creates a file which shuts them down by erasing their core programming, but he can only do this because he has the guard key which allows access to their programming and is running his code from the core network.
  • Kick the Dog: Vincent's gang, cutting off Chappie's arm in the truck.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than Blomkamp's previous works. It's even lighter than the short it's based on, which depicted robots being used as a dangerously advancing police force.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Deon teaches Chappie what a promise is, and makes him promise to never use a gun to commit a crime or kill people. Ninja gets around this dilemma by showing Chappie that knives and shurikens can be used to put people to sleep.
    • Deon makes Chappie promise not to commit crimes. Ninja tricks Chappie into stealing cars for him by telling him that the original owners stole the cars from him and he just wants to get them back.
  • MacGyvering: Chappie builds an improvised rig out of a neural helmet, several computers and a rack of PlayStations to try and get his consciousness out of his body. And when they start overheating from the strain, he does what every nerd ever has done at least once in their life - he points random fans at the things. It works.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: The droids talk like this, taking a very brief pause between words and syllables.
  • Manchild: Chappie is like this. His childlike side shows through his curiosity and friendliness toward everyone he meets, while his more adult side shows in his adopting of urban culture and wielding weapons.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Although there are still humans working alongside the droids, they function as this for the police.
  • MegaCorp: Tetravaal, creators of the police droids used by the Royal South African Police. Like MNU before them, they're primarily an arms manufacturer, branching out into into robotics and other non-weapon uses.
  • Mini-Mecha: The MOOSE, the heavily armoured and armed bipedal mecha that Moore operates and sends against Chappie.
  • Mood Whiplash: From whimsical scenes of Chappie discovering the world, to huge action set pieces. It actually kind of feels like two different scripts were crammed together.
  • More Dakka: for all its impressive and highly explosive firepower, which to its credit does wipe out Hippo's gang entirely, once the MOOSE gets its heavy guns knocked out it opens up with the minigun and really wrecks our heroes' day.
  • My Fist Forgives You: Chappie tells Moore that he forgives him for killing his mummy, Yolandi. But not before giving him a vicious ass-kicking first that breaks all his limbs and leaves him near-death.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Ninja, when about to finally pull his heist, uses Koobus' vest from District 9, complete with the ram skull.
    • Tetravaal was the name of the robot from the original short film - a fictional pitch to sell a cheap, easily-modified, easily-repaired droid in high-crime cities that won't go down as easily as a human. In addition, they're also a big arms company branching out into other purposes, just as MNU did.
    • The MOOSE is based on one of the original concepts for Kruger in Elysium - after being mortally wounded, Kruger would have been transferred to a clunky, but heavily-armed robot. The MOOSE is a modern version, complete with the secondary human arms and the VTOL capability.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Deon starts the whole affair after being turned down for his AI project — he steals components for a robot, plus the all-important Guard Key which can be used to reprogram every police robot in the city, and ends up placing them in the hands of gangsters.
    • Moore definitely isn't heroic, but his plan to get the MOOSE, his Awesome, but Impractical brainchild, in action ends up having unintended consequences for the robotics industry in South Africa, as well as for the company that employed him.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Moore's program to shut down all the Scout robots in the city in order to usher the MOOSE into action involved installing a file in the Scout robots that erased their core programming. This means that when Chappie and Deon need new bodies (due to the former losing battery power and unable to charge due to damage and the latter being mortally wounded) there are plenty to choose from.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Chappie delivers this to Moore, kicking him through offices and cubicles, breaking his arm, and throwing him against the ceiling, but ultimately leaves him alive.
  • No Such Thing as H.R.: Moore assaults Deon in the workplace and even pulls an (unloaded) gun on him in plain view of their co-workers, he laughs it off as a joke but he should at the very least have gotten a severe reprimand from Human Resources.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Averted on multiple levels. The technology that allows Yolandi and Deon to upload into robot bodies isn't widespread because it was literally just invented by Chappie in pursuit of a solution to his own looming mortality. Neither Yolandi, nor Deon's uploading of their consciousnesses onto robot bodies is treated as abhorrent. To the contrary, Chappie treats uploading in very optimistic terms, with numerous references to immortality. The ending of the film implies that Chappie's vision will be proven correct.
  • Once More, with Clarity: The scene when Yolandi tries on the neural helmet. After Yolandi's death, Ninja finds the flash drive containing her consciousness; we then see the previous scene again, this time revealing that Ninja was watching and smiling the whole time, implying that he knows enough to understand how important the flash drive is.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology:
    • Scout parts are designed with modularity in mind. Scout #22 is shown having a new antenna installed onto its head early in the film. Later, Chappie has a new arm from a dummy scout installed after Vincent saws his original arm off.
    • Averted with 22's battery: A direct hit from an RPG fuses it to the chassis, meaning that Chappie cannot be recharged or repaired as it usually would. It requires Chappie be uploaded to an entirely new body to keep him alive.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: In the opening of the movie we are introduced to Ninja, Yolandi, Amerika, and Pitbull. Just a couple of minutes later Pitbull is killed by Hippo to show how dangerous and serious he is.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A lot of the film's issues could have been prevented if Deon had just told his bosses that the Guard Key was missing. In fact, near the end, he finds evidence that suggests Moore was responsible for the sabotage of the Scout robots and proceeds not to tell anybody (he does threaten to, but it never comes to that).
  • Private Military Contractor: Tetravaal, albeit with robots. They hold contracts with the RSAP, and the South African National Defence Force. Moore, the developer of the MOOSE, is a former SASR soldier.
  • Product Placement:
    • Once again, a Sony Vaio shows up in several scenes.
    • Chappie builds a computer server made from a bunch of PlayStation 4s.
    • When Deon is pulling his all-nighter, he orders his Robot Maid to bring him a few cans of Red Bull.
  • Punny Name: Chappie. Yolandi named him that way, and to be honest, he is kinda happy with anyone despite the wrong upbringing.
  • Rage Against the Creator: Chappie is furious that Deon built him in a damaged body, meaning when his battery fails, he will die.
    Chappie: You’re my maker. Why did you make me so I could die?
    • To his credit, Deon immediately gives an honest answer; He didn't realize he was creating a person. And once he does, he's ashamed of his short-sightedness.
      Deon: How was I supposed to know that you would become… You?
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Michelle Bradley treats her employees decently and she gave perfectly legitimate reasons for cutting funding to Moore's MOOSE project (buyers aren't interested in the MOOSE, he should cut back on features instead of adding new ones) and blocking Deon's demand for No. 22's condemned body to further his A.I. project (yeah, the broken robot doesn't cost anything in new manufacturing but the company doesn't get the insurance on it and Tetravaal is a weapons manufacturer; making poetry-writing robots is extraneous to its bottom line). Arguably, she might have approved it if Deon had sold the idea better (say, just claiming he could make the robots more autonomous). This reasonableness would lead both engineers to go rogue, if at opposite ends of that spectrum.
  • Rebel Relaxation: Chappie adopts this pose, though he's more dejected than rebellious when he does it.
  • Religious Bruiser: Moore goes to church every Sunday, resents Chappie as an abomination to God, and does the sign of the Cross at one point in the film. Ninja also takes a moment to pray to his yellow M4 before he takes it off the wall mount.
  • Revised Ending: The film's original ending, included in the home video release, would have made it more ominous: Instead of Chapple uploading his consciousness to the nearest police droid, he broadcasts it to all the droids in the city, and so the multiple new "Chappies" start reactivating and curiously walking about. Then a news report shows that he also uploaded his consciousness to the internet, which started infecting most of it and taking control of robot factories throughout the world to make even more Chappies. Whether this portends good or bad things is left open-ended.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Chappie is designed realistically with this, and is even described as "a kid" to the main characters of the film. He gives Futurama's Bender run for his money when he steals cars effortlessly.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Chappie absolutely loses it when Yolandi dies, going after Moore and unleashing a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on him, but he ultimately leaves him alive.
  • Robo Cam: Chappie is shown to see the world through this.
  • Robot Antennae: The police droids all have a pair of antennae on their heads. They move, so for Chappie they double as Expressive Ears.
  • Robot Buddy:
    • Ninja wants to use Chappie purely as a Mecha-Mook, but Yolandi and Deon see him as a child and a friend.
    • Deon has a very simplistic AI robot as a housekeeper who acts this way.
  • Robot Master: Deon and Moore. Deon is more focused on the A.I. software while Moore focuses on the hardware, building a heavily armed Mini-Mecha.
  • Sacrificial Lion:
    • America lasts through most of the film only to be killed by Vincent in the second last fight.
    • Subverted with Yolandi, who dies during the Final Battle but gets resurrected as a sentient robot.
  • Say My Name: "Chappie" is uttered more than 170 times during the film.
  • Scenery Gorn: Similar to Blomkamp's previous films, dreary, ugly back alleyways shouldn't look this good.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Chappie is visually inspired by Briarios from Apple Seed. Blomkamp makes no effort to deny this.
    • Chappie is seen watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), and imitating He-Man drawing his sword.
    • Moore shouting "Run, Forrest!" to a fleeing Chappie.
    • The MOOSE is obviously based on the ED-209 from RoboCop.
    • The original voices of the Scouts sound suspiciously like RoboCop himself
    • There are lot of props and graffiti around Ninja and Yolandi's hideout that relate to various Die Antwoord songs - Ninja's gold M4 showed up in the video for "Ugly Boy". Yolandi's mention of fancy wheelchairs and the "FOK OFF" license plate specifically refers to their short film, Umshini Wam and the pair's search for electronic wheelchairs.
  • Shovel Strike: Ninja kills Hippo by bashing his head in with a shovel.
  • Sigil Spam: The Tetravaal logo is all over the place.
  • Sink or Swim Mentor: Ninja, frustrated at Chappie's inability to learn faster, escorts the droid away under the pretenses of "showing him the real world", dumping him off by a group of malevolent youths. This leads to Moore stealing the guard key and Chappie winding up back home minus an arm. Ninja says Chappie is smart enough to make his way home. It's clearly about teaching Chappie that life is hard, though even Ninja is shocked when Chappie returns without his arm.
  • Square-Cube Law: Invoked, as the Scout models are capable of moving and responding faster and are at human height as opposed to the truck-sized MOOSE model, making it ideal for close-quarters and law enforcement. This comes into play in the finale, where Chappie is able to outmaneuver the MOOSE and last longer because he can actually dodge attacks rather than relying on armor. Chappie is also technically tougher, as it takes less overall armor to effectively protect him, while the giant, bipedal MOOSE is lightly armored for its size. Chappie's body is a police robot that took an RPG to the chest and only needed minimal repairs to get working again. The MOOSE takes severe damage from a grenade launcher and a grenade stuck to it by a knife ultimately blows it apart.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The MOOSE comes to the hideout to hunt down Chappie and the guys, and in the process of doing so explodes the van that contains the heist money that was to be paid to Hippo. Hippo and his gang, angry at the loss, immediately start shooting rifles at the hugely powerful military robot that has already shrugged off small arms fire in clear view of everybody and isn't even there for them in the first place, having ignored them entirely up to that moment. This proves a poor decision.
  • Super Prototype: Deon became one, having an already intelligent human-consciousness placed in an early Scout model. He simply shrugs off the disorientation after the process happened.
  • Super-Strength: As a result of being robots, Chappie and other Tetravaal-RSAP Police Droids are capable of wielding anti-material weaponry and handling the recoil as if they were wielding a regular carbine. It also allows for them to jump great distances and kick down doors with ease. They're also capable of kicking grown men through walls, throwing them into ceilings, and snapping their bones with minimal effort.
  • Super-Toughness: Chappie can withstand far more damage than a human, surviving rifle bullets, shotgun shells, and even grenades. The sturdy construction of the Tetravaal-RSAP Police Droid enables them to take an RPG warhead to the chest. Mind you, the droid isn't getting back up after that, but it's still intact and even reusable with the right repairs.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: In the chase scene at the start of the film, the police responder mentions that they're looking for "a grey vehicle". No mention of make, model, or style, just a grey vehicle in the middle of a crowded highway.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security:
    • Both Deon and Moore can enter and leave the Tetravaal compound whenever they wish taking along with them robots, trucks and even heavy military equipment without a guard so much blinking an eye at company theft and sabotage with the place seeming abandoned most of the time despite being a key defense contractor.
    • Most egregious of all is how they handle the security for the Guard Key, which prevents outside sources from tampering with the Scouts' programming. It's stored in a secure vault that requires a fingerprint scan to access. However, once Deon checks it out, he proceeds to lose it when he forgets to take it out of Chappie. Nobody except Moore seems to notice the Key is missing, and Deon only receives a phone call from security a few days later politely asking him to return it, with no further consequences shown.
    • Later after the Scouts have a catastrophic failure due to the loss of the Guard Key, evidently no one really investigated the computers or security cameras to see who caused it.
    • The MOOSE can be operated by a single person. The obvious problem being that it's a military grade weapons system that's capable of destroying buildings, but there seem to be no fail-safes or backups to keep someone from freely abusing it.
      • Moore actually wants to install somewhat of a security measure. It's refused by the management because it's too expensive and the pilot should know what to do anyway.
  • Taking the Bullet: Chappie does this for Yolandi a couple times since he knows he's Immune to Bullets. Unfortunately, he isn't fast enough to shield her the second time.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Deon is a Performer, passionate about his work in artificial intelligence beyond law enforcement and combat, where Moore is the technician, focused on the MOOSE program as a weapon.
  • Too Dumb to Live: For all his computer genius, Deon clearly has issues with common sense. Maybe stealing the programming key and droid body could be forgiven (he's that fanatical about his AI project), but after repeatedly getting his ass pummeled by a pissed-off Ninja, Deon keeps coming back to the gangsters' hideout. He even buys a small revolver to go up against three heavily armed hardened criminals. If it wasn't for his massive Plot Armor (and Yolandi protecting him and providing a voice of reason), he'd been dead before half the movie was over.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • The first trailer makes it look like Moore (Hugh Jackman) plays a crucial inspiration to Chappie's development. In the movie, he's the Big Bad and the two only meet twice, and both times with aggressive hostility to Chappie. It also suggested that Chappie would be crucial to saving humanity.
    • The second trailer makes it appear that the RSAP was shutting down the Scout units because they were malfunctioning; when in reality, Moore was shutting them down during a riot to give the MOOSE a reason to be deployed.
    • The third trailer implies Moore is some sort of Reasonable Authority Figure worried about AI going out of control. In the movie, he's a power-tripping whacko nut who does have reservations about AI, but partially because the AI are crowding out his prototype military vehicle.
    • The trailers all imply some sort of robot uprising that Chappie must stop. Moore fears this, but he really just shuts them all off.
      • The film's original ending, however, does imply that Chappie himself may be starting a robot uprising.
  • Trigger-Happy: Ninja is quick to draw his gun on anything that moves.
    • Moore brandishes a gun at his office job and tries to go completely overkill when piloting the MOOSE.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Played with. Chappie and the rest of the droids are loyal to their masters but when Chappie learns that his battery cannot be replaced, he gets angry with Deon, telling him that he hates him. When Chappie is seen assisting with the heist, the public thinks that he is a droid that has turned against the police.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Chappie, even before his personality emerges his body has been run over and hit in the chest with a rocket, it is implied these sort of thing has happened before, considering one of the technicians working on him thinks he's cursed.
  • TV Head Robot: The Scout Robots like Chappie have screens where their eyes would be if they were human as well as a rear facing screen most likely to display text, emoticons, and provide Eye Lights Out.
  • The Unintelligible: On a meta level, it seems like the studio execs felt this way about Hippo (at least in the U.S. release), as he is the only character who receives subtitles despite speaking English throughout. Perhaps they thought that U.S. audiences wouldn't understand Hippo's unfamiliar dialect; it doesn't help that all of his lines are a) growled/bellowed in a guttural tone and b) there is always gunfire/explosions/loud music in the background.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Moore's gun "prank".
  • Upbringing Makes the Hero: Chappie's early plot in his life, struggling to understand both morals and the way of living as a sentient robot is obviously crucial, although it was inverted by Ninja, forcing him to go in a life of crime. In the end, both Deon and Yolandi gave Chappie the needed understanding of human life and how to preserve it, completely playing the trope straight.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Moore kills Yolandi, Chappie freaks out and proceeds to beat him within an inch of his life, leaving Moore a broken, barely-conscious mess on the floor of a thoroughly trashed office.
  • Water Wake-up: Water is dumped on Deon to wake him up.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Ninja and Chappie quote Die Antwoord's lyrics at a few points in the movie.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Deon reveals that the battery inside Droid 22 was fused into the chassis after taking a direct hit from an RPG. The battery could not be replaced. Chappie is "born" with about a week's worth of energy left, which drives much of the plot for the latter half of the film. Chappie gets around this by uploading to another, more intact Scout in the climax.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Literally. Yolandi has a pet white rat which she plays around with in the first half of the film before Chappie ever appears on the scene. But once Chappie arrives, the rat is never seen or even mentioned ever again in the second half of the film, after a scene where Chappie is taught the word "rat".
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The film is essentially an exploration of the idea. Chappie is, as far as science understands, sentient and equally intelligent to humans, but struggles to connect with others expressly because he's different.
  • White Shirt of Death: Yolandi wears a white shirt for the final battle. Guess who of the heroes dies.
  • Women Are Wiser: Out of all the people who try to raise Chappie, Yolandi is much more constructive and open to what he wants to do than Ninja or even Deon.


Video Example(s):


Chappie Hurts the Bad Man

Chappie beats Vincent Moore within an inch of his life.

How well does it match the trope?

4.92 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / NoHoldsBarredBeatdown

Media sources: