The poster advertisement for Chappie (2015) shows the robot standing with classic toddler ABC blocks spelling out his name. That is a reference to the fact that most of Chappie’s plot is spent watching a former police robot get wiped of his old programming and replaced with a consciousness file (formatted as .dat, go figure) that renders him sentient. He’s then “born” like an infant and succumbs to education, peer pressure and outside influences like any other evolving “person.”

But that’s the whole movie. Everything the other characters do only serves to influence Chappie, nothing happens to evolve their own personas.

Deon (Dev Patel), Chappie’s creator, is a prodigious genius with a God complex and weak social skills. Vincent (Hugh Jackman), is a villain so daftly one-dimensional that may have offered the worst use of Hugh Jackman’s acting skills to date. He dresses like an Australian park ranger, has a tremendously terrible mullet, and hates Deon for little reason other than Deon’s police robots are being used and Vincent’s project, a ridiculous giant walking Metal Gear-esque robot, is something nobody wants. He threatens Deon with a gun in a corporate office with absolutely no repercussion because that’s just how goofy and angry Vincent likes to be. And Segourney Weaver’s Michelle Bradley character is fully inept as a CEO of a military arms corporation. Every decision she makes in her very limited screen time is a bad one.

The hoodlums that kidnap Deon and Chappie and attempt to raise Chappie as a criminal gangbanger are played by Yolandi Visser and Ninja of the rap/rave group Die Antwoord, and Jose Pablo Cantillo as a character named Yankie. They are obnoxious, over-the-top, cartoonish buffoons with neon-colored assault rifles that match their attitudes. Though Yolandi rapidly finds herself in mommy mode over Chappie, the gang undergoes zero transformation throughout the film. They’re simply as flat as the cartoons they resemble.

ScreenRant says: “Without a doubt, Chappie‘s secondary cast is designed to keep the spotlight focused on its titular robo-protagonist but Blomkamp also spends a significant amount of screen time seeking to payoff side threads – especially the not-so-subtle story of intellect versus brute force exemplified by Deon and his rival Tetravaal engineer, Vincent Moore (played Hugh Jackman). Both actors are solid in their roles but the movie simply does not have room to turn their fundamental disagreements about artificial intelligence into rewarding (or particularly fresh) science fiction ideas.”

It wouldn't have killed Blomkamp to sacrifice a few minutes of Chappie time to spend a little more effort fleshing out the other elements of the film.