John Carpenter wrote and directed this science fiction thriller about a group of aliens who try to take over the world by disguising themselves as Young Republicans. Wrestler Roddy Piper stars as John Nada, a drifted who makes his way into an immense encampment for the homeless. There he stumbles upon a conspiracy concerning aliens who have hypnotized the populace through subliminal messages transmitted through television, magazines, posters, and movies. When Nada looks through special Ray-Bans developed by the resistance leaders, the aliens lose their clean-cut "Dan Quayle" looks and resemble crusty-looking reptiles. Nada joins the underground, teaming up with rebel-leader Frank (Keith David) to eradicate the lizard-like aliens from the body politic. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
It's dated, but the underlying material stands up, as does Roddy Piper believe it or not.
This movie was made in a time when movies were rushed to 90 minutes regardless of the story. I wish he could remake it now when movies are almost always too long.
20 more minutes and I think Carpenter could have had another New York on his hands...
This film is one heck of a weird but very worth watching Sci Fic film. I wont go into the story line but at the end of the film you wished that the story line was extended as the film really had a great story.
Visionary director John Carpenter creates this world that is not unlike todays society. Created well before The Matrix, Carpenter uses aliens to demonstrate the power of the media and the superpowers behind the scenes. Carpenter shows us that we can live in a world, even a city, and not realize what is happening around us. How hidden are those subliminal messages in our culture? He also prods at the notion that only the wealthy can create the supposed truth, and that eventually the lines between wealthy and homeless with be much defined. This was a beautiful film that carries with it a heavy burden of showing us the truth of our world. He gives us warnings and answers if we choose to listen. Perhaps it is the packaging, perhaps it is because our culture has not adapted well to the horror/sci-fi genre yet, but everyone should experience this film once.
I thought this movie was pretty cool. Yeah, I agree the second half didn't flow like the first, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. I'm sorry, but that fight between Roddy Piper and Keith Davis is legendary. I loved it : ) The movie kinda has that Ghosts of Mars and Halloween III look and feel of "what the hell is going on here?". Not that those are Carpenter's best movies, but you can see the relativity in Direction/Production.
If you don't like this movie, you are probably old or a 13 year-old who doesn't know anything. Who doesn't want to see Rody Piper fight for 10 minutes??!! I don't care if it was relevant or not, that was the best part of the movie. The best thing about the movie is, you think that it's just gonna slow down and you're going to get some crazy information, or it's gonna go into this 1984 bullish - and then all of the sudden someone gets hurt! That bubble gum line made me want to shoot yuppies! Snobs turn you nose up. I got my glasses on.
But I still loved this movie. It does in fact seem like a different writer wrote the 2nd half.. from the chases, etc.. but the end has a good twist. The wrestling scene between Piper and Davis is WAY too long. The great thing about this is how Carpenter uses people from "the street.." He's very effective in using strangers and homeless in his movies.. he portrays them as real people, with real stories. Definitely a thought-provoking movie. I would like to see this movie get re-made, with a better story in the 2nd half. Piper can act, and proves it here.
I wanted to like this movie. I am a big fan of John Carpenter, and the first forty or so minutes of the film are thought provoking, disturbing, and very well put together. I would recommend the film simply to see its start, because it is a wonderful, and visionary beginning.
Unfortunately the second half of the film seems to not only have a different director, but a different writer. The story devolves into extended (and pointless) brawls between Roddy Piper and Keith Davis that seem to be directed entirely at Roddy Piper's WWF fan base. Piper, who gives a great performance in the first half of the film, and Keith Davis, with his powerful and entrancing screen presence, deserved a better script to work with!
Things continue to go downhill as the film nears its Rambo-like ending. What is so frustrating is the fact that the material is intriguing and COULD have been so much more than it turned out it be.
Movie is worth seeing, but definitely not Carpenter's best. The suspense is there at the beginning, as per his usual style - but the movie derails somewhere along the way...right about the fight scene, I'd say...worth tossing into your rental queue though.
Like many of Carpenter's movies, you start out with an interesting idea but it never fully materializes in the end. Things just don't progress and you wait for something enlightening to happen, but it never does. And so goes, 'They Live'. BUT... there are classic moments in this movie, and it is worth the rent. And big street cred if you OWN it. Rowdy Roddy Piper has a 10+ min fight scene! It was so good they copied it in a South Park episode. Good social commentary, bad execution. Certainly no "Thing" or "Christine".