Nice article in Salon:

The four rules of action movies Kathryn Bigelow breaks every time (and thank goodness for that).

Pick any scene at random from among Bigelow’s films and it’s possible to mistake it for a high-grade Jerry Bruckheimer or Joel Silver production: the roiling guitars, the guns ‘n’ ammo, the flaming cars, the shirtless guys punching one another. But one of Bigelow’s many virtues as an auteur—and perhaps her box-office Achilles’ heel—is her willingness to break some unwritten rules of the hard-charging spectacles that are often her stock in trade.

Rule 1: Heroes should be heroic.

Rule 2: Violence should both excite and relax your audience.

Rule 3: There should be at least one Hot Chick (viz., Jolie, Mendes, Fox).

Rule 4: Send the viewer out on a high!

Read the whole article on Salon.