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A courier for a local crime lord must deliver a mysterious package while being chased by a horde of unusual gangsters.
For more about The Package and the The Package Blu-ray release, see the The Package Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 19, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, Darren Shahlavi, Monique Ganderton, Jerry Trimble, Michael Daingerfield
Director: Jesse V. Johnson
» See full cast & crew
The Package Blu-ray Review
(No) special (features) delivery.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 19, 2013
The Package is the most recent direct-to-video Action flick to star Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren and come out of the Anchor Bay distribution chain, following tightly on the heels of Austin's Maximum Conviction and Lundgren's One in the Chamber. The Package fares a little better than both of those; the combined star power helps this along considerably, but so too does a fairly interesting plot line with a fair twist in the final act and, of course, some rough-and-tumble rowdy Action scenes that are amongst the more entertaining fans will find in a DTV film without "Universal Soldier" in the title (both of which also star Lundgren). At its center, though, is a largely routine venture, but one that comes together just a bit better than others of its kind. It's not ready for primetime, but Action fans will be hard-pressed to find something far and away better than this that's making its debut on Blu-ray rather than the local mall's multiplex.
Big Doug (Eric Keenleyside) is the big man around town. He's the last person to see for a loan but, sometimes, the only one who will front the money. Pay him back, on his terms, and everything's fine. Fail to come up with the funds, and be paid a visit by his enforcer, a brute of a bald-headed man named Tommy (Austin). Tommy is given a mission from his boss: deliver a package to "The German" (Lundgren) and Tommy's imprisoned brother's debt to Big Doug will be forgiven. It's an easy enough job, one Tommy takes with little hesitation. When his colleague's curiosity gets the best of him and reveals the package's contents, the mission goes awry leaving Tommy to fend for himself against ruthless and heavily armed goons. Can he survive long enough to discover the secret, to learn why he was chosen for a mission leading into The German's lavishly terrifying lair?
There's an air of familiarity with The Package that stems from, well, the lack of any real novelty to the film. It follows the recent trend in direct-to-video Action in that tries its best to paint a more complex plot than is necessary, to populate the film with shady bad guys and several multidimensional characters. It keeps the action hot but tries to find something more in the way of dramatic urgency and thematic interest than may be found in the standard dumbed-down car chases and shootouts that usually highlight these sorts of films. The movie largely succeeds in balancing all these pieces together. There aren't too many different underdeveloped faces in the movie, not an abundance of complex plot threads, instead just enough of both to satisfy the need for something more than 90 minutes of action but something less than material that would push core audiences away. The film's balance is arguably its best asset; the story flows effortlessly and is dotted with plenty of loud, hard-hitting action scenes while punctuated by some strong character moments and a nice bit of twisty plot advancement near the end. The Package is no dramatic powerhouse, but the blend of story and action serves the movie well enough and better than many others of this sort.
That aside, there real reason to watch The Package is for its action and, surprisingly, its acting and characterization. The gunplay is solidly entertaining and hard-hitting; the automatic weapons fire tears up plenty of sets, the punches and beat-downs do a heck of a lot of damage, and the general tone of the action elicits a rough, hardcore sort of feel that should put every Action movie fan at ease. It's all stylishly done and performed solidly, without too much faux toughness or, on the other end of the spectrum, over-the-top cartoonish zealotry. Steve Austin plays a fairly one dimensional character who can be gentle with his lady but who can also bulldoze his way through problems, either behind the gun or by throwing his weight and muscle around. Dolph Lundgren, on the other hand, plays a sadistic health nut who's more than capable of punishing bad guys, doling out violence quirky and efficiently and with as much accuracy as he displays when reciting all the health benefits of a mango. He seems to take a page out of Christian Bale's American Psycho playbook, and he portrays that kind of character quite effectively, showing that he's far more than a muscled body (which anyone who's listened to his well-spoken commentary tracks already knows). The Package also features a brief but memorable performance from William B. Davis, The X-Files' "Cigarette Smoking Man."
The Package Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Package features the DTV Blu-ray-basic 1080p, 1.78:1-framed high definition presentation. Typical of these HD video productions released through Anchor Bay, this one's very well done, crisp and nicely detailed and, save for a few minor blemishes, a pleasure to watch. First, the negatives. Light banding in a few scenes, a small amount of noise, and a few edge halos around a cityscape shot mar an otherwise accurate presentation. The transfer offers steady, crisp, and well-defined textures throughout; whether wear on bowling pins and the scuffs on the hardwood lanes seen in the opening title sequence or more standard faces and clothes, all surfaces appear in good, crisp order and prove quite naturally revealing and accurate. Colors are even and pleasant; the palette never drifts towards either an unnatural warmth or an unwanted dullness, instead offering a balanced, satisfying array of hues, from blood red to the silver paint job on a pickup truck seen at film's end. It does take on a deliberately cold and flat look at times, however, but colors are strong when the image is more vibrant. Black levels are fine, deep and accurate and refusing to crush, while flesh tones present no major drift from the norm. This is a good all-around presentation from Anchor Bay.
The Package Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Anchor Bay delivers The Package to Blu-ray with an exciting Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The presentation impresses from the beginning forward; the film starts with clear notes, a natural room-filling presence, and hearty bass. Heavy low end elements dot some of the more sinister musical notes scattered throughout the movie, and the track's bass also gives definition to heavy thud punches and deep rattling machine gun fire in chapter five. A long string of automatic weapons fire practically shreds the listening area; it's deep and loud, so much so that listeners might feel the urge to throw on some hearing protection. The track provides some nicely spaced and naturally flowing support elements as well; gentle music and distant thunder in chapter six help set a nearly surreal sort of atmosphere leading up to a killing. Dialogue is clear and focused in the center. This is a positive, well-constructed soundtrack that serves the movie very well.
The Package Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray release of The Package contains no supplemental content. However, a DVD copy of the film has been included.
The Package Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Package won't win over the hearts and minds with those outside its target audience, but those who enjoy DTV Action flicks will find quite a bit to like about this latest Steve Austin/Dolph Lundgren blood-spiller. It features a robust story that's serious but not overly complicated, well-staged action that's a nice blend of gunplay and fisticuffs, and a good twist in the final act. As far as DTV films go, this is one of the more polished and entertaining out there. It's expertly made, well acted, and plenty of fun. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of The Package doesn't contain any extras, but it does feature good video and aggressive audio. Recommended to diehard Action movie fans.
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