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They Live
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Reviews & Ratings for
They Live More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Funny and brilliant movie

9/10
Author: Lucabrasisleeps from India
20 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

John carpenter has always switched between genres and he has proved it in most of the genres. Here he tackles the sci fi genre with lots of social commentary and comedy. What makes this movie special are the 80s touches which make it far more interesting than any arty boring movie about the evils of consumerism.

The main character is a drifter who is looking for work and he gets some temporary work where Frank works. As they say, the idle mind is a devil's workshop. Soon he is fascinated by the underground group who seems to know all the answers with regard to alien control of the world . Carpenter relates this concept to some anti-capitalist message about the rich either being part of the alien species or making some deals with the species. The rest of the story deals with the fight of this underground group against the elite aliens.

Ever since I discovered the internet, I have become aware of these conspiracy theorists and their grand theories about the elite. This movie reminded me of that, so I was slightly annoyed. But the movie is so much fun, you don't really care that much. That's the great thing about 80s movies, they don't try to be pretentious and bore you to death. This is all about rowdy roddy piper, gun fights, a long pointless fight (it is only around 5 minutes but it felt longer) and a woman with creepy eyes.

Oh and what a fight! This is one of the highlights of the movie. It was like watching a real wrestling match. I guess maybe Keith David was given some sort of training briefly before getting into this. It was a little hilarious because they were beating each other to death for no reason almost. This is a remarkable 80s moment in my opinion.

The lines are so funny! Apart from the obvious choices (bubble gum line), there are so many underrated lines which I loved so much. For a guy who doesn't have much experience in acting, his dialogue delivery is actually pretty awesome! And Keith David is also pretty good in this one. I have never seen Meg foster in any movie and frankly she scares me with her creepy eyes.

The ending is a nice touch to complete this fun film in a funny way.

I loved it 9/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I am all out of bubblegum.

8/10
Author: WakenPayne from Valhalla
13 December 2014

I saw this a while ago but for some reason I never got round to reviewing it until tonight. I am a fan of John Carpenter's work in the 70's and 80's... I haven't seen that much of his 90's work but anyway I decided to see this and it actually is a lot of fun to watch.

So the plot is that a drifter gets a job at a construction site in another town but in that town he sees multiple... assuredly crazy people who believe that some kind of mind control is going on between the entire human race. One thing leads to another and he finds a pair of sunglasses that manage to let him see that all billboard signs are replaced with words like "obey" and some people are not people but aliens that manage to assimilate our society. The end result is the aliens have all the wealth and power and basically use this planet to take all it's resources.

So this movie is pretty much in the genre of others such as Invasion Of The Body Snatchers but one of my biggest problems with it is that through unclear intention I don't really know if it's meant to be a movie mocking it or playing it as a straight up action movie. I mean I like this movie but my expectations are rather confused when the guy can see Aliens through sunglasses and there are people who know how ridiculous that sounds, like it's playing it self aware along with some of the effects used for the alien spaceships seem like it's out of a 50's sci-fi.

Aside from that as I said I really enjoyed it. Stuff like the acting seems good in places but a little hokey in others from people like Roddy Piper although I don't know if that was the intention. I also think some of the effects are good and the idea of John Carpenter directing something like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers seemed like a good idea. I honestly think that if I saw the intention more clearly this could be up there with the best of his work.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

They Live

8/10
Author: Phil Hubbs from UK
16 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Probably one of the most overlooked and underrated films by Carpenter yet possibly his most clever. All his own work and a quite beautiful look at how paranoia and fear within an ever decreasing economy can be exploited for a good story.

Now I'm not saying all Americans are suspicious conspiracy theory doom mongers but this film exposes that ever present trait whilst also scratching at the notion of constant gross consumer consumption, greed and subversive subliminal messages touching on hypnosis and domination.

To be honest the whole idea just shows how some Americans (including Carpenter) think most of the time, always looking over their shoulder and suspicious.

As for the film its a romp that just keeps going and you wanna know how it ends. The start is slow and dull, it takes time to get going but once Nada finds the sunglasses of truth things get really interesting in a good way. I love how Carpenter made this film, its dated but still looks great as it has that nice B-movie look which is mainly down to the budget. Think of it as an unintentional result that happens to fit the whole films concept perfectly. Classic 50's alien B-movie fluff enhanced with time.

The whole idea is really very clever and imagined so well. We see the alien corrupted world controlling the now unaware obedient humans in their daily lives through the black and white shades Nada finds. Without the shades the world appears normal, an illusion created to blinker or fog human eyes.

The aliens only appear when the shades are on and boy do they look creepy. Even though its obviously a simple mask the makeup and design is superbly created and really gives an eerie effect. That skeletal skull look with those quite scary eyes!

I have always been surprised with the great performance by Piper also. The guy was a WWF wrestler at the time for Gods sake yet his acting here is great, just perfect. He really carries off the suspicion and awakening of the story to a tee. As for his character of Nada...all I can say is the guy certainly has an element of Jack Burton if you ask me.

'I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum'

I also like how this film isn't predictable. It keeps you guessing and you're never sure how it will end or who will survive.

The subtle political jabs, crazy ass humour and out n out action is a curious blend but like Carpenter's 86 film 'Big Trouble in Little China' he manages to pull it off with ease and create another cult on his filmography. A great comicbook tale of mindless media/advertising supremacy on an Orwellian alien monitored Earth.

'Brother, life's a bitch... and she's back in heat'

8/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fun satire from a great director!

8/10
Author: sivertholm
25 October 2014

"They Live" is a Sci-fi - Comedy - Horror cult movie from 1988, directed by the great John Carpenter. The movie revolves around Nada ( played by wrestling star Roddy Piper ), a common drifter who comes over a pair of sunglasses. But these aren't just any sunglasses. They make Nada realize that aliens have taken over the earth, and are controlling the human race in the form of commercials, magazines, and other forms of media. Now it's up to Nada, and his newly accompanied friend Frank, to try to stop the aliens, and find out whats going on.

Let me just say this. This is a criminally underrated film! It's funny, suspenseful, intelligent, and all around a great film. Roddy Piper gives a surprisingly good performance, and he's just perfect for the role. He's constantly spouting cheesy one liners, and kicking ass. He's just great.

Definitely check this one out. Is it flawless? No, it has a lot of problems. But it's just so fun and weird, that you don't care that much. The cheese factor just adds to the charm, and it's just great. Not for everyone, but still a great film.

8/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Nobody kicks a$$ (and chews bubblegum) better

8/10
Author: bowmanblue from United Kingdom
19 July 2014

'They Live' is a masterpiece. No, not a masterpiece of acting, nor storytelling or even originality. It's basically a masterpiece of a B-movie. In B-movie terms... this is the 'Godfather' Parts 1, 2 and 3.

We join a vagrant (played by a wrestler no less!) who stumbles onto an alien plot to take over the world. He decides that ain't gonna' happen! And he does it in style.

I could mention the numerous classic (yet completely cheesy) lines. I could also mention the truly ridiculous fight scene that transpires about half way through the film (and was so brilliantly parodied in 'South Park'). And I could mention that They Live was directed by the master of horror in the seventies/eighties John Carpenter. However, you don't need to know any of that. All you need to have in order to enjoy this film is an appreciation for the slightly dumb, the slightly daft, the slightly over-the-top and the ability to suspend your disbelief for an hour and a half so that you can really cheer the good guys on in their quest to rid the world of this corporate alien menace.

No brain cells required. Just sit back, crack open the popcorn (chewing bubblegum is optional) and watch the aliens get their collective a$$ kicked by 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper!

http://thewrongtreemoviereviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"Everybody's got their own hard times these days."

8/10
Author: utgard14 from USA
12 July 2014

Drifter John Nada (Roddy Piper) finds a special pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the truth -- that aliens have taken over Earth and are using subliminal advertising to keep humans subdued and unaware they have been conquered. With this knowledge he joins with others as part of a resistance movement to stop the alien invasion.

John Carpenter's satirical sci-fi horror movie is a truly under-appreciated classic, in my opinion. It has a cult following but it deserves wider recognition. The script is smart and actually has something to say, unlike most popcorn flicks. The cast is terrific, particularly "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in easily his best movie role. He gets lots of funny and memorable lines. His professional wrestling background comes in handy, too, as he and Keith David have the greatest fight scene in movie history here. It goes on for over five minutes and just has to be seen to be believed. No CGI fakery or even stuntmen. This scene is probably what the film is best remembered for today. Oh, and I love that Carpenter soundtrack. It's really a fantastic movie that seems to get better each time I watch it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A movie that exposes our fear of freedom

8/10
Author: david-sarkies from Australia
16 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember watching this movie a long time ago (basically when I was a kid) and I really liked it. Recently every time I see it I state that it is a brilliant movie, but nobody really seems to listen to me regarding this movie so I hired it and my judgement still stands. Even though it is a B-grade science-fiction movie, it is actually quite good.

Basically the world is going through economic hardships and many people are loosing their jobs, but the rich seem to still be living a luxurious lifestyle. A guy comes into Los Angeles looking for work, and finds some, but stumbles upon an organisation that seems to be attracting the police's attention. After a particularly nasty raid, he decides to investigate further and steals a box which he discovers contains sunglasses. Rather annoyed at this find, he ditches the box but keeps a pair and puts it on for a shock - everything contains subliminal messages and a number of people look horrid. We learn that the horrid people are actually aliens that have made a pact with the power elite on earth.

Basically this movie seems to have a huge social commentary attached to it. Earth in this film is a third-world country and our power-elite have sold out to these aliens. We are simply a planet with resources worth exploiting and these creatures have made deals with us to get these resources. Money is the thing that entices us so they give us lots of money and take what they want. One statement in the movie is that it is easy to sell out because all we want is money.

The key is a statement made at the beginning: when we are born we are told that we have to succeed and then the person who tells us tries to rip us apart to succeed himself. This movie creates a bleak and empty world were everybody emotionlessly pursues money, while those who do not have the fortune to be in the wealthy social class must struggle to survive. The places we visit here are the wealthy district and the shanty towns where the poor and the wretched hide and struggle to survive.

It is interesting to see how people sell out. Basically the wealthy do not see a problem with these aliens, but when the guy sees the truth through the sunglasses, he realises that we are all being manipulated by subliminal messages that are everywhere. The only reason we do not see what the signs really say is that there is a transmission that hides everything. The goal in the movie is not to wipe out the aliens - that cannot be done - but to reveal the truth to everybody, and thus they must wipe out the tower. The wealthy don't want that to happen because they have everything already - freedom does not matter when they have freedom with money.

I guess there is also the idea of subliminal advertising, but this is not really the thrust of it, but that we are being to controlled to think and do what we do, and if it is socially unacceptable then we must be reprogrammed. We are programmed by everything that we look at, and in the movie there are subliminal messages, but we do not need a movie to tell us that advertising programs us. Humanity basically needs to be told what to do because most people don't like to think or make a choice, as such they look elsewhere for their decisions to be made.

This is a good movie and it is very socially damning. I have seen movies that are much more so, but this basically strikes at our nature, the desire for wealth and power and will give up our freedom and our thoughts to obtain it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Before you read the review, remember that I'm not a B-movie fan.

Author: hanjhking from South Korea
5 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

They Live (1988): While not the most subtle of social commentaries, 'They Live' succeedingly gives us an entertaining experience mixing nice action, right amount of horror, a touch of 80's campiness and dark humor. John Carpenter still knows what he should be doing and he does it well. The thing is, is it well executed. That is another problem.

I couldn't help but to think that the film feels like a video game. Definitely a good video game, but video game as it is. It feels very simplified, and the last part of the film is only action oriented, with no smart plot points except one which is so contrived that you could have seen it miles away.

The main character is filled with charisma, recalling the quotable line 'I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass.', but he lack actual characteristics that could make him a three dimensional character. He is simply awesome and good at fighting, there isn't really much to it than that.

Considering the main character, the other characters don't really have any personality. The only motivation they have is to survive and that's it. Even to the more concentrated supporting characters don't have personality.

There's also a very pointless scene in the film where the two main characters fight because one of them is trying to convince the other that the aliens exist. While it starts all fun at first, it becomes very boring as it is simply the same moves done again and again. Thankfully, that's the only scene that has that feeling. But oh what an annoying scene.

But definitely, it's not a bad film. It's reasons are direct and straight forward, easy enough to understand and truthful. The media is quite frankly controlling the world into a very unworthy of a place and we all know that many people are simply blending into the background of the world, not trying to get out of the blue and make another color. The commentary is one of those themes that I relate to a lot.

With that said, the film is definitely not good. But if you like those 80's camp-fest Sci-fi films, you're in for a treat. It's just that it's not my thing.

2.5/4

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"One Of Carpenter's Best!"

7/10
Author: gwnightscream from United States
29 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster star in John Carpenter's 1988 sci-fi film based on a short story, "Eight O'Clock In The Morning." This starts with drifter, John Nada (Piper) arriving in town looking for work. He gets a construction job and meets Frank (David), an everyday man providing for his family. Soon, Nada and Frank witness a strange police raid at the place they stay at. Nada then stumbles onto an alien conspiracy when he finds a pair of sunglasses allowing him to see subliminal messages. He tries to warn Frank until he finally gets the picture that aliens are running the planet making people slave-like. Foster plays Holly Thompson, a TV station assistant program director Nada meets and gets close with. I think this is one Carpenter's best, Piper and David are great in it and who can forget their long classic fight scene. Carpenter & Alan Howarth's score is also excellent as usual and I recommend this 80's cult classic.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Supremely enjoyable Carpenter film slowly getting the recognition it deserves.

7/10
Author: TransAtlantyk from Warszawa, Polska
13 February 2012

I've seen the popularity of this film slowly rise of the years and all the better for it. This one of Carpenter's most underrated films. It features everything we all love about John Carpenter during his heyday, especially the musical scores that are so recognizably his.

The dialogue is intentionally B-movie cheese - but it is great cheese. You'll be quoting this movie for a long time potentially the rest of your life. You'll saying something about asses and bubble gum - if you haven't seen it, you'll soon know what I mean.

Also there is a fight scene in this movie that goes on for approximately fifteen minutes that you can't even comprehend - not to say that it is good but only that it is so hilariously long (and the actors take it SO seriously!) that you can't help but think Carpenter is having a little send-up of 80s action flicks.

Great story, entertaining acting, and pure B-movie greatness. Watch it today.

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