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407. They Live; movie review

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Title : 407. They Live; movie review
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Cert 15
90 mins
BBFC advice: Contains strong language, violence

It's coming up to Halloween so, as sure as night follows day, John Carpenter's greatest hits are rolled out.
The truth is that I have avoided most of them until now but was lured in by They Live because I had been told it offered something different.
And, despite its clunkiness and no discernible acting talent, it conjures up a cross between Orwellian and Wellsian narrative which is surprisingly compelling.
It stars Roddy Piper, whom Carpenter met at Wrestlemania in 1987, and Keith David who had already starred in The Thing.
Piper's John Nada is seeking work after having lost his previous job and meets David's Frankon a building site before they become unlikely allies.
This isn't a friendship which is garlanded with flowers - at one point the men have a five-minute fight which could have come straight out of the wrestling ring.
Anyway, Nada becomes suspicious of a church near to the cardboard city where the two are staying and, as a consequence, discovers that aliens have infiltrated the world's population.
Indeed, with a pair of special dark glasses, he can see their skeletal features and the messages which are hidden behind the plethora of advertising which usually greets the human eye.
Nada, just like Piper's in-the-ring alter ego,  decides to take on the invaders without any plan and somehow becomes a thorn in their side despite his lack of resource.
Meanwhile, he is thrown out of a window, shot at multiple times and given beatings which would kill a normal human being but keeps bouncing back to fight the good fight.
There is no doubt that They Live is a film of the 80s - both its look, music and even its titles transport the audience back to the days of long wavy hair and fashion disasters.
But it should not be written off as a classic B-movie. It has lots to say about the rich-poor divide and how the former keep the latter in check, no matter what the cost.

Reasons to watch: Iconic 80s action pic
Reasons to avoid: Looks very clunky by today's standards

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: Yes
Overall rating: 7/10

Director quote - John Carpenter: "If I were going to make that movie today, and it hadn’t been made, I would update it – I would bring it into the new century and change some of the tenor of it, but no – the basic narrative would remain exactly the same."

The big question - Shouldn't films such as this be brought up to date?

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