Critic Reviews



Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Los Angeles Times
Has its share of underthought or overwrought moments. The tone keeps shifting radically. It has some silly lines, plot lapses and goofball action scenes. But you can forgive the movie everything because of the sheer nasty pizazz of its central concept. [4 Nov 1988]
Chicago Tribune
The looniest movie of the season and also one of the most engaging. [7 Nov 1988]
A fantastically subversive film, a nifty little confection pitting us vs them, the haves vs the have-nots.
Carpenter is trying for a satire of advertising and consumerism under late capitalism, and although the film is great fun at first--especially when depicting the world through Nada's glasses--it rarely rises above the intellectual level of a comic book.
They Live is, to scramble its most famous line, better at chewing bubblegum than kicking ass.
Chicago Reader
All in all, an entertaining (if ideologically incoherent) response to the valorization of greed in our midst, with lots of Rambo-esque violence thrown in, as well as an unusually protracted slugfest between ex-wrestler Roddy Piper and costar Keith David.
USA Today
Live dies around the time Carpenter allows 10 minutes of gratuitous Piper-David eye-gouging, an apparent bone to wrestling fans. Forget the amusing premise; a full crate of magic glasses couldn't make this a bearable movie. [7 Nov 1988]
The New York Times
Mr. Carpenter has directed the film with B-movie bluntness, but with none of the requisite snap. And his screenplay (written under the pseudonym Frank Armitage) makes the principals sound even more tongue-tied than they have to. [4 Nov 1988, p.C8]
San Francisco Chronicle
Typical of some of the absurd moments in this film is a long drawn-out fist fight between the hero and Frank, who almost kill each other because Frank is too proud to try on the magic dark glasses. It is completely stupid. [5 Nov 1988]
The plot for They Live is full of black holes, the acting is wretched, the effects are second-rate. In fact, the whole thing is so preposterous it makes "V" look like "Masterpiece Theatre." [5 Nov 1988]

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