They Live (1988)


Ridiculous film with an interesting premise and a strong first act that quickly falls apart once the actual plot kicks in and all attempts at seriousness get tossed aside in favor of goofiness and stupidity. Was this meant to be so kitschy? And if so, why take the time and effort to make such a great, atmospheric, downright spooky and suspenseful first 15-20 minutes? Was it all a cruel joke on the part of the filmmakers to fool the audience into thinking they’d be watching something competently made, or did they just get lazy about a third of the way in and decide throwing the least amount of sensical scenes together and calling it a movie would be the  best way to go? I don’t understand.

Even the main character is great until he opens his mouth. He’s clearly more of a presence than an actor anyway, so why force him to act? Just give him a few stoic lines here and there ala Arnold Schwarzenegger and call it a day. Not hard. People won’t care. This isn’t a deep, emotional drama or anything. Not by a long shot. And what was with that **SPOILERS** fight scene near the middle between him and his reluctant cop buddy or whatever, god. **END SPOILERS** I’ve never seen anything so wacky in my life, and it just goes on and on. What were they thinking? Was it meant to be funny? And the film is full of such weird, idiotic moments of questionable humor and quality. Why put such bizarre, poorly thought out scenes like these in a film sporting such serious and important themes? Since when does the prospect of forced conformity and physical/psychological imprisonment gel with clunky, borderline slapstick comedy and goofy one liners? What in god’s name is going on here!?!? Arghh!

Overall, ugh. Like watching two different movies, the shorter first of which is great, while the second resembles something out of a children’s cartoon show. A shame. Avoid.

But, if you don’t believe me, you’re welcome to check it out for yourself here: They Live. Click the link! Stream the video! Obey!


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