The Package

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Sergeant Johnny Gallagher (Gene Hackman) has been assigned to what he believes is a routine prisoner transfer. He will accompany a rebellious American soldier (Tommy Lee Jones) on s trip from Europe back to the United States, where this soldier will be court martialed. But as he becomes more involved in the mission, Gallagher begins to see that things aren’t as they seemed, and he finds himself in the middle of an ever deepening international military conspiracy. It seems as though some people in high places are of the opinion that the Cold War should continue, whether to protect their jobs or power status. But in order for the Cold War to keep going, the peace must be broken to alert the sides to the potential dangers the other side poses. The timing for this type of plan is perfect, with a crucial superpowers summit just around the corner. In this time of peril, Gallagher must push forward and stop the conspiracy before it goes into full bloom, not only for himself, but for everyone on both sides of the Cold War.

While the movie seems a little dated, The Package still packs a nice punch in the political thriller genre, and features some excellent performances to boot. The Cold War spurred more a few thrillers of this variety, but The Package is one of the better crafted tales. The writing for this movie is outstanding, and fuels the storyline, which is filled with twists and turns. Attention to detail is another earmark of this movie, which serves to make the plot movements all the more tense. One scene in particular is very impressive, that being the protest segment, which many Russians refused to be involved in. The Russians feared than even mock protest against a fictional Russian leader could spell trouble for their relatives back home. I recommend this movie to fans of suspense/thrillers, especially those in the political vein. A rental would prove wise for first time viewers, but if you’ve seen and enjoy the film, the disc is well worth your money.

This movie features a fairly large ensemble supporting cast, with Gene Hackman playing the lead role. Hackman (Hoosiers, Unforgiven) turns in a riveting performance here, one of his best, which is really saying something, given his storied career. In this film, Hackman’s demeanor alone turns up the tension a notch or two. Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive, Batman Forever) gets some serious screen time as well, adding yet another escaped prisoner movie to his resume. Joanna Cassidy (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Chain Reaction) gives a nice performance here, and John Heard (Home Alone, Desert Blue) manages to play the bad guy much better than one might expect. The supporting cast includes Reni Santoni (Cobra, Dr. Dolittle), Kevin Crowley, Ike Pappas (Moon Over Parador), Pam Grier (Above the Law, Original Gangstas), Thalmus Rasulala (Blacula, New Jack City), and Dennis Franz (Die Hard 2: Die Harder, City of Angels).

Video: How does it look?

The Package is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame version also included. While some people lament the inclusion of the full frame version, I think it helps sales, since many people out there still don’t prefer widescreen. The colors remain within a natural range, so no neons or shocking hues emerge, but flesh tones are natural and outdoor scenes appear in the correct tones. Contrast levels are well represented also, with no shadow layering issues and no visible detail loss. I also noticed no compression errors on the transfer, but this is some grain present.

Audio: How does it sound?

While this is a political thriller, most of the tension is played via words as opposed to guns, so the audio is reserved for the most part. Now, some guns get fired, but on the whole, dialogue rules this roost. The surrounds will liven up during the high energy portions, especially during the gun fights, and the music has a very rich texture to it. The dialogue is also replicated well, with no glaring issues, and very good clarity.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The disc includes the original theatrical trailer, and the insert booklet contains some production notes.

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