Directed by stuntman Jesse V. Johnson, 2012's The Package stars 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin as Tommy Wick, an enforcer for a loan shark named Big Doug (Eric Keenleyside). When we first meet him, he and his partner arrive at a bowling alley where they shake down a guy named Luis who owes Doug some money - they've already given him an extension, it's time to pay up. Tommy makes this very clear to Luis by pushing his face into the ball return just as a bowling ball flies up the tunnel and breaks his nose.
From there, Doug gives Tommy his next mission: he's to deliver a package from Seattle to British Columbia to The German (Dolph Lundgren). He's not to open this package, he's only to deliver it and if he does this four Doug, the aging mobster will forgive the sizeable debt owed to him by Tommy's younger incarcerated brother. Tommy agrees, goes home and makes love to his wife, and then hits the road with his partner. As they drive through a small town on their way north, a bullet flies through the window and kills his partner. Tommy loses control of the car and wrecks it and winds up in a shoot out with a small but heavily armed group of killers. Tommy doesn't know who these guys are or what they're doing but he puts two and two together and figures that they must be after whatever it is that is in this package Big Doug gave him. He makes it out alive and steals a motorcycle to make an escape, but they give chase. As Tommy finds himself basically on the run to get the package delivered to The German on time, he's attacked on all fronts and soon learns the reality of what exactly it is that Big Doug has asked him to deliver...
While you might see the twist coming before the ending arrives, making this one a little on the predictable side, The Package is otherwise a very satisfying B-action movie, the kind that's easy to enjoy and that delivers all the rampant violence and mayhem you could want. Johnson, not surprisingly, includes some pretty impressive stunt sequences here and there isn't any obvious CGI on display, it all appears to be done the old fashioned way. When Tommy rolls that car, it's an actual car and not a computer generated one, that takes the hit. Likewise, during the shoot outs the impact wounds are done via squibs, not by computer graphics, so there's plenty of eighties style carnage on display and for those of us who appreciate the whole Cannon Films feel, that's a good thing indeed.
As far as the performances go, Austin is likeable enough in the lead. He doesn't have a whole lot of range and doesn't handle the few emotional moments in the movie particularly well but he does handle himself nicely in the fight scenes and brings a strong screen presence to the movie. We can buy him as the enforcer type, he looks slick in a suit and he hits hard when he needs to. Lundgren is great in his role but he isn't given nearly as much screen time as Austin is. Still, when he's on screen you pay attention. He's definitely having a good time with the part and it's cool to see him in a more villainous role than we're accustomed to. He also handles himself well in the fight scenes and has a few humorous moments that shine in the picture. Supporting work from the rest of the cast is fine, and the movie doesn't want for action or fight scenes.
Quickly paced and nicely shot, this one doesn't overstay its welcome and it delivers pretty much exactly what you want from it. It's not deep, it won't change your life, but it is a whole lot of fun and a pretty solid action thriller through and through.
The Package arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1.78.1 transfer in 1080p high definition. In short, the transfer is clean, colorful and nicely detailed. Throughout playback the picture is very crisp and it boasts very nice colors throughout, or at least accurate colors - as much of this is shot in the rainy Pacific Northwest it isn't the most colorful film you'll ever see but it seems accurate in this department. Black levels are pretty strong and skin tones look good. There's some mild shimmering here and there but no heavy edge enhancement or noise reduction to note. Texture is pretty impressive and there's plenty of background detail to ogle throughout the movie. All in all, the movie looks quite good on Blu-ray.
The English language Dolby True HD 5.1 on The Package is very solid. Gun shots, and there are a lot of them, pack a pretty strong punch and there's a solid low end here that offers some nice rumble when the movie calls for it. Dialogue stays plenty discernible and easy to follow as the levels are properly mixed ensuring that the performers never get lost in the mix. Channel separation is frequent and generally handled quite well, a few of the shoot out scenes have some nice pans across the room as the bullets fly around you from all directions. As you'd expect from such a recent film, there are no issues with hiss or distortion - everything comes up just fine here. Optional subtitles are provided in English SDH and Spanish.
There are no extras at all, just a static menu offering chapter selection. This is a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release, however, so a standard definition DVD disc is also included inside the case.
Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of The Package doesn't contain any extras but it looks good and it sounds good and the movie itself is a kick. It's fast paced, it's violent and it's occasionally a little funny - a pure popcorn movie to be sure, but one with some impressive fight scenes and a pretty decent storyline. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.