They Live (1988) – Movie Review

Opening Thoughts:

I haven’t seen many John Carpenter films so I’m beginning to see more of them. I’ve seen Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, and The Thing. However most of these movies I need to rewatch again just to get second thoughts. Seeing They Live was my very first viewing.It includes Roddy Piper so you can’t go wrong with that if you love wrestling.

The Positives:

I really liked the plot of this film. I thought it was really unique and it doesn’t seem too cliche. I like the concept of the main protagonist finding a pair of sunglasses and sees a different reality as he puts them on. I thought the casting was a good choice but I thought anyone can play Nada. But since Roddy Piper was confirmed with the role, I guess it got everyone’s attention since he was a WWF wrestler at the time. When the action begins, it does deliver decently. The last act where Nada and Frank fight the armed guards to get to the alien transmitter on the roof was my favorite part.

The Negatives:

The first flaw that I had with this movie was the first act was really dull and I thought it was slow to get to the main plot. The movie is about an hour and a little above 40 minutes, but the first act alone felt longer to me in a bad way. I was feeling uninterested with the first act. I just thought nothing exciting was happening.

The middle and final act did save the movie but some scenes just felt a little lousy to me. Maybe Carpenter was planning a bit of a lousy style but I just thought it didn’t fit with the plot. It could’ve been more of a serious drama/thriller type of film and it could’ve been more of a serious contender.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, They Live is a decent film that could’ve been better but it is definitely watchable since it has Roddy Piper and the story itself is intriguing. This movie is watchable more than once but I wouldn’t watch it on a frequent basis. Maybe every now and then when I do a John Carpenter marathon. I wouldn’t say this is one of Carpenter’s best movies. But that’s just my opinion. Maybe when I give this movie a rewatch, I might have second thoughts. But for now, I’m going to rate this movie three out of five stars.

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