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K-19: The Widowmaker has some outward indications of dullness - the clunky title, the multinational cast all playing English-speaking Soviets, and the fact that it's a National Geographic co-production. And the telling of a Chernobyl-like meltdown on the nuclear-armed K-19 Soviet sub during the height of the Cold War does tend towards the soggy, but more often it's rousing historical action, and the amicable, respectful dueling between captain (Harrison Ford) and executive officer (Liam Neeson) echoes the manly negotiating sparring in Point Break.
In The Hurt Locker and (probably) the bin Laden movie, Bigelow the journalist, or at least craftswoman honoring journalistic integrity, takes over from Bigelow the painter. The film can't be considered an attempt to re-achieve the commercial heights of Point Break after the box office bombing of K-19, because it never enjoyed a commercial success commensurate with its critical and Oscar coronation, and the films are very different. The Hurt Locker, with its creative experiments in visual perspective, unforgettable lead performance, and Bush-era tweak of Bigelow's macho rebel hero theme, marked a genuine comeback for a director with concerns not limited to vampires and surfers. But the look, however considered, feels obligatorily adapted to the modern action film’s preference for realism—the default 21st century style, derived from copious digital documentation and permanent warfare—which is only disappointing in light of how singular her worldview seemed in the past. While Bigelow's planned bin Laden film sounds suspiciously like a detail-rearranged sequel, a filmmaker who's proven herself so capable of interesting adjustments might deserve the benefit of the doubt.