February 20, 2013

Movie Review: The Package

Movie Review: The Package

There is nothing good inside this Package

The Package Movie Poster
The Package
Starring Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, Michael Daingerfield, Darren Shahlavi
Director: Jesse V. Johnson
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: February 9, 2013

I knew what to expect from Anchor Bay’s The Package.  Any film starring Steve Austin (no longer Stone Cold) and Dolph Lundgren is not going to have touching character moments, powerful acting performances, a gripping story, or eye-popping special effects.  These types of movies exist to deliver some base thrills with lots of bone-crunching fights and explosive gunfire.   But even viewers with those low expectations will leave disappointed in this adrenaline-free shoot-em-up.

The very loose plot of The Package is a rip-off of Jason Statham’s successful Transporter films.  Austin plays a mob enforcer tasked with delivering a small package of high importance to The German (Lundgren).   Along the way a squad of goons tries to stop Austin in the hopes of ransoming the package to The German for a higher price.  The goons just hope to make some money, but as no one knows the contents of the package the goons have no stakes in successfully stealing it from Austin.  This makes all the gunfire and fistfights a mere stalling tactic, dragging this film to feature-length.

Unfortunately, the fights are not even entertaining.  Directed by veteran Hollywood stuntman Jesse V. Johnson (Starship Troopers, Thor), this film proves just because you can do stunts doesn’t mean you can direct them.  The gunfights are loud but uninventive, and the hand-to-hand brawls are all shot with the close-up, choppy, shaky-cam effect that was passé a decade ago.   None of the fights even come close to the outrageous WWE matches of Austin’s past.

The movie hits the depths of stupidity when Austin battles one goon in a construction zone.   In the background, atop scaffolding, stand two welders going about their work.  The light of their arc welder provides a cool strobe-light effect and delivers the only impressive visual in the movie.  Despite two large men engaging in mortal combat mere inches from their work area, the teamsters work doesn’t stop.  Their torch never turns off, even though a body colliding with their scaffold would likely jolt the machine and scar the workers for life.

If the welders don’t care, why should I?

The high point in this movie is The German.   Lundgren plays this mysterious bad-ass for humor. Obsessed with culinary delights, The German regales his victims with recipes for fish sandwiches, fruit smoothies, and martinis.  While even in his heyday Lundgren was never one for emoting on-screen, here the aging tough-guy has a subdued sense of playfulness that makes me wish he was given more to do.

Despite the movie saying Lundgren and Austin were on the same side, audience demand the two stars face off, and sure enough they do.  This climactic battle between these two action stars should be the most spectacular and memorable fight in the film.  Unfortunately, the battle is over in moments, and pales in comparison to some earlier in the film.

Even the most undiscerning action film fan will be disappointed in The Package.  It’s an action movie that lacks punch and punches.  Not recommend.


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