Variety says “Blomkamp’s third feature exhausts its meager ideas and the viewer well before the end of its two-hour running time.”
We’ve been seeing futuristic technologies gain sentience for decades - from The Terminator (1984) way back to 2001 (1968), the concept is nothing new. We expect modern films showing off sentient tech to add something to the genre, and to make us think about the future in a different way. Advanced A.I. is simultaneously something we humans are working towards and something renowned scientists like Stephen Hawking say we should categorically avoid, as they could “spell the end of the human race.”
Hollywood is acutely aware of society’s fears that technology will dominate the human race. If anything, Chappie (2015) takes both sides on the idea, and says that whether or not robots could ever take over the human race is up to the humans.
At the film’s conclusion, the all-robot police force is disbanded. It’s effectively a step back in technology taking over human responsibilities. Too many things went wrong and South Africa was forced to retreat to good old-fashioned human manpower. At the same time, it showed a sentient robot figuring out how to accurately transition human consciousness from one physical entity to another, effectively inventing a means for immortality.
“Blomkamp is suggesting that, particularly when viewed beside the atrocities committed by humans, in the movie or in real life, a blank-slate robot could out-human us all. Whether it’s intentional or not, he’s also saying that, as makers, as we design robots and the other tools that will make the future, we have the opportunity to define how they inhabit the world. Where technology can be used by the powerful to subjugate the powerless, as makers, builders, and engineers, we regain some control over that technology. As Deon (Dev Patel) tries to maintain control over Chappie, it evolves instead into a relationship, which is one of the most poignant aspects of the movie: Chappie is not about humans vs. robots — it’s about humans with robots.” - Make: Magazine