Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Movie Review: They Live

A victim of raised expectations. I was hoping for a pretty good film here, based on John Carpenter's earlier works (The Thing and Big Trouble In Little China in particular) and of course on the promise of Rowdy Roddy Piper delivering the immortal dialogue:

I'm here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum!
Sadly, Piper completely botches the line - hell, Kevin Murphy delivered the line better dressed as Santa Claus on MST3K! He doesn't do much better elsewhere - it's no wonder he didn't take off as an action movie star because he can't really drop the one-liner like Ah-nold or Sly can.

The rest of the movie comes off as a fairly pedestrian low-budget actioner, which I guess is all it is, really. The concept is nicely done - aliens live among us (as eeeee-vil Republicans, from the look of it) and keep us subservient through the use of subliminal messages spread out everywhere. Roddy Piper's drifter stumbles upon the truth, and is able to destroy the subterfuge by...well, by shooting a bullet at one satellite dish with a pistol.

Yeah, that's all it took. Not exactly Fort Knox in terms of protection. The only real effective moment comes in an assault on a meeting of the underground resistance - Carpenter did a nice job of having that blast in unexpectedly. But otherwise, things are pretty slow until we get to the big reveal, and then it's a fairly straight line to the expected ending. Can't really give this three stars, since it just seems to waste a good setup on some lackluster scripting and execution. So two stars it is - sorry, Roddy.

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