It's this time-old message of humanity, adapted to fit with today's technologies, that transcends the overpowering, at times clunky, cinematic vessel.
Its oddly jumbled machinery never clicks. The logic of Chappie gradually disintegrates, becoming increasingly farcical.
The principal charm of the film arises from Chappie's ears, which prick up and droop like those of a titanium rabbit.
While the visual effects are spectacularly seamless, they're in the service of a movie which devolves from vaguely funny to just-plain silly to numbingly gory.
There's material in Chappie for a worthwhile motion picture but too little is explored by Blomkamp to make this worth a trip to a theater.
It may be too sloppy and indulgent to actually call good, but that still leaves room for words like heartfelt, trippy, personal, and even admirable.
This is a well-meaning film with a good idea that unfortunately stumbles on its way to its less-than-satisfying end.
One of those incongruous Franken-films that's simultaneously bombastically brutal and treacly.
It's cluttered, goofy and incoherent from beginning to end, and much too long.