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
I've seen this movie several times over the course of over 20 years. It's just one of those movies you get in the mood and want to see again. Everything is good about it. Great Story, sci-fi bent, conspiracy, great 1-liners, etc. It will never make anyone's top 10 list though you will go back and watch it again and again over the next several years.
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".