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Monday, 28 May 2018

Movie Review: The Package (2013)

The Package
Cast: Steve Austin, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Keenlyside, John Novak, Kristen Kerr
Genre: Action
US Box Office Gross: over $1,400

Plot: Assassins dog the trail of a mob enforcer who's been entrusted to deliver a special parcel to an international crime lord known as 'the German'

'Worth Opening Up If You Are A Lover Of Action Flicks'

Back in the 1980s, Steve Austin made his debut as a wrestler for WCW, the acronym for World Championship Wrestling as a young, blond-haired muscleman, who eventually moved up the ranks as he transitioned to rival company WWF, now WWE under the name of Stone Cold Steve Austin. 10 years or so later, much like with one of his then wrestling rivals, The Rock's Dwayne Johnson, he has transitioned as a movie actor. Yet whereas Johnson has become a big-name Hollywood actor in his own right, Steve Austin on the other hand, but for his appearance in The Expendables, has to make do with B-movie and direct-to-DVD action efforts of recent years. 

The Package is an all-round traditional action movie the likes that were heavily prominent back in the 1980s with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone that is nowadays reduced to direct-to-DVD, B-movie fare adorning Amazon and stores such as Target and Wal-Mart. Its plot is very much similar to The Transporter and 2012's The Courier starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Mickey Rourke whereby under orders, a courier/delivery man has to deliver a mysterious package, only to discover he is being followed by a set of bad guys. 

Tommy (Steve Austin) is a mob enforcer, who is happily married and loves his wife so much, but also he wants a better life for them. He is tasked with delivering a package to a man under the name of The German (Dolph Lundgren). Along the way, he faces some thugs, who try to make it difficult for him, as they attempt to kill Tommy, get their hands on the package & collect a huge paycheque. 

DTV and direct-to-video/DVD action flicks are hardly going to break any new ground, insofar as the action is concerned; as regurgitated as it is and as much as it is pretty much the same in almost any other movie of this type, what you see is what you get. With The Package, I felt the action here, though whilst not spectacular, given the budget and constraints, was still cool to watch and that this was still an enjoyable flick, as well as having a story that sustained my interest until the end. Compared to other straight- to- DVD action movies, this is one of those efforts where, for me anyway, it felt it was above average and rather decent. The fight scenes especially look as though they haven't been sloppily put together and unlike other action films, thankfully it doesn't rely on CGI. Visually, it looks really good without being flashy. There are also plenty of gun battles traded, bone-breaking kicks, punches and a few wrestling moves that Steve Austin applies to the bad guys and he does make for an interesting action hero actor. 

The movie itself pretty much received derisory reviews and a mauling by critics, but going into the film as an action movie fan, I was more than satisfied. Action films are about fun, about the good guys beating up the bad guys and despite its low-budget status, I couldn't ask for anything more from The Package' when it comes to making an effort. and this film does that, as it spares no punches. 

I enjoyed The Courier, but with this one, I felt as I was watching this that this is how The Courier should have turned out. I mean, I enjoyed that flick but The Package did it better when it comes to the action set pieces, the fights, although with Steve Austin he did okay as the leading man and I preferred Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Courier and that he is a more charismatic actor. Not to say that Steve Austin isn't, but Dean Morgan just has that little bit extra in the acting tank. I haven't seen his other movies, but here Austin fared well and despite his limitations, the director manages to work around them with the film playing to Austin's strengths and the end result, is sound. The remaining performances by the other unknown actors are okay I suppose, but you wouldn't care about their characters, one bit. Dolph Lundgren is also a ok too as the anti-hero and at over 50 years of age, he still possesses some threat, as well as the ability to kick ass. In one scene, his character is making a smoothie in a blender, whilst he goes on to decimate his rivals.

The story also manages to throw in a few plot twists just to ramp up interest, as well as in making it more entertaining. 

Final Verdict:

The Package is an enjoyable under 90 min movie that doesn't lag in the story stakes and the action was not only sufficient, it was also rather good. Given its direct-to-DVD status, it succeeds in its intentions to be nothing more than a solid popcorn-style film that will keep action movie enthusiasts glued to their seats. Steve Austin makes for an action hero type that is very much reminiscent of the popular 1980s action hero movie stars of yesteryear, together along with a performance that isn't too shabby.

If you are a fan of the old school 1980s and 1990s action hero films, then I'll think you'll get a kick out of this one.  


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