They Live (John Carpenter, 1988)

More effective in theory than execution, They Live makes for an interesting critique on consumerism and class divisions. Professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper is effective as a down-on-his-luck working man, who happens to stumble on glasses that allow him to see the subliminal truth beyond advertisements along with discovering that the wealthy aren’t really human at all. The ideas They Live poses are quite compelling, though I found Carpenter and Nelson’s script to be too unfocused and in desperate need of revisions. The film could’ve taken a variety of routes from the onset of Piper discovering the wonder-glasses, from informing his few friends, to going on a rampage, to aligning with a resistance group. And that’s exactly what happens – the script calls for Piper to do all of the above. None of the activities he embarks upon are really fleshed out in a convincing way, which is disappointing, given that the ideas at least show promise if pushed forward. Nevertheless, I enjoyed what the film attempted to do, even if it missed the mark at times. Though I’m still not sure what to think of Piper and Keith David brawling for what seems to be eternity…

6/10