ZERO STARS/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras F
starring Édgar Ramírez, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Ray Winstone
screenplay by Kurt Wimmer
directed by Ericson Core
by Walter Chaw Not enough can be said about Kathryn Bigelow's action sense. The honkytonk slaughter sequence in Near Dark, from the first moment (when the vampires crest the hill) to the last (when the lone survivor defenestrates), is a triumph of design, of score--including the high lonesome tones of a George Strait classic on the jukebox--and editing and execution. It's that perfect economy of ideas-into-motion that indicates her cult classic Point Break, too--that, paired with absolutely perfect casting, from Keanu Reeves's Everybody's All-American football hero-turned-FBI dude Johnny Utah and Patrick Swayze's blissed-out charismatic leader all the way down to Gary Busey and Lori Petty, the best supporting staff a film about a surf-zen cult-cum-bank-robbing crew could ask for. It's a lovely marriage between ludicrous high-concept and the period immediately following the 1980s, which found the country in a reflective mood, perched there on the verge of upsetting the primacy of film for the coming digital age. Bigelow's Point Break was a showcase for practical stuntwork and, philosophically, a nice metaphor for the excess of the "greed is good"/City on the Hill period drawing to a close. The bad guys rob banks to pay their way to enlightenment. Of course it all ends in tears.