The Package Blu-ray Review
What do you get when you cross THE TRANSPORTER with THE WILD BUNCH (and as I write this I pray that one day a DVD box doesn’t have the words “a cross between THE TRANSPORTER and THE WILD BUNCH and my name below it)? Give up? It’s the latest film featuring the “former wrestler teams up with former 80’s ass-kicker” formula called THE PACKAGE.
Tommy Wick (Austin) is a leg breaker/collector for a man known as Big Doug (Eric Keenleyside). When people owe money Tommy and his partner pay a visit and, if they can’t collect, make them wish they had. Tommy also likes to verify his work by taking photos of them after they’ve been “instructed to pay” in a more timely manner. After using a debtor’s head as a ball stop at the local bowling alley Tommy is asked by Big Doug to do him a favor. He needs to deliver a package to a man with an equally colorful nickname – the German (Lundgren). The mission is so special to Big Doug that, if Tommy pulls it off, Big Doug will pull the necessary strings to get Tommy’s brother out of prison. With this in mind Tommy sets off on what he assumes will be an easy task, unaware that there are people other than the German who would like to intercept the package no matter the cost!
Cleverly filmed and really LOUD, THE PACKAGE is a notch above the normal formula films (see above) that seem to be coming out almost weekly. That notch comes from the natural performance of Austin and the darkly humorous one of Lundgren. A former WWE champion, when he went by the nickname “Stone Cold,” Austin is easygoing on screen for the same reason that Roddy Piper, Hulk Hogan and Dwayne Johnson – ok, the Rock – are. They’re performers. I would think it’s easier to carry on a conversation or engage in a fake gun fight then to stand shirtless in front of 60,000 people and implore them to “give me a hell yeah!” Here Austin has an easy way about him and, after having gotten several films under his belt (not the championship one) he is very relaxed and natural. Lundgren, a chemical engineer and mathematical genius in his spare time, has really grown as an actor since the mono-syllabic days of Ivan Drago and ROCKY IV. Here he comes off as a Swedish version of Christopher Walken in TRUE ROMANCE. In one scene he calmly describes all the various fruits and veggies he’s putting in his blender, as well as their health benefits, to a man he just recently gutted. The matter-of-fact way he carries on the conversation leaves no doubt that this is one guy not to get on the wrong side of.
On the technical side, the film is a little over the top in both sound and bullets. People are shot a minimum of twenty times each when the machine guns come out. A little overkill but the slow motion shots of the empty shells filling the air are worth the carnage. The stunts are above average as is a nice car crash that occurs after Tommy begins his trip.
Video: Presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio the HD stands out nicely. An establishing shot of Seattle could be a postcard.
Audio: The audio is presented in Dolby True HD 5.1.and you can hear every gun shoot, cleanly but loudly.
The only extras here are a couple of similar-themed trailers to films featuring Austin, Steven Segal and, sadly, Cuba Gooding, Jr