Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
A few months back we gave thanks to the Direct to Video / Video on Demand gods for giving us the dream pairing of Steven Seagal and Stone Cold Steve Action in the awesome action epic 'Maximum Conviction'.  Of course we qualified that word 'awesome' by noting that my definition might be a little different from yours.  Here are again, and I don't about your VOD gods but my VOD gods love me something fierce, but here we are with another dream pairing with Stone Cold, this time hanging out with Dolph Lundgren.  Of course, the sliding scale of awesome still applies, but this one fell somewhat below by sliding scale, tumbling into the rock solid scale we call mediocrity.  If you were to ask me, that is.

Tommy (Stone Cold) is a fairly common, well dressed thug who goes around beating up dudes who don't pay mobster Big Doug (Eric Keenleyside) his money.  But Tommy is a good guy, only doing this thing to pay off the debts of his malcontent, imprisoned brother Eddie (Lochlyn Munroe) and to make for a better life for he and his long legged, incredibly fit wife Darla (Kristen Kerr).

Then one day Big Doug summons Tommy for a job.  Deliver a package to a mysterious cat known only as The German (Dolph), and while Tommy would rather not do this thing as he and this German have a bit of a spotty history, the payoff is that all of Tommy's sorry brother's debts will paid once this package is delivered. 

Easy enough, right?  So Tommy and his partner head on off to deliver this thing, and damn if they won't make it to their destination.  We're not going to be worried about the partner too much in this equation, but Tommy has now run into some hardcore mercenaries who are
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trying to peel his bald cap off with bullets while attempting to secure this package.  Tommy barely makes his escape, but the head merc (Darren Shahlavi) is a little upset that his bosses didn't give him full disclosure on Tommy's heightened level of badassery.  Just look at the guy.  That should've been proof enough.

After that unfortunate event Tommy would like to just back out of delivering this package, but Big Doug convinces him that his options are limited in this situation and the job goes on.  Only thing is Tommy has every manner of thug and criminal and low life on his tail to take this package off of his hands, and then there's The German who is on the sidelines, slitting throats and watching people die while awaiting delivery.

What exactly is in this package?  Don't know exactly but every once in a while the German will cough, and if one coughs in a movie then one is dying.  This much we know, and that means this package has something to do with that.  It's a little wacky once it all shakes out, but there it is.  Eventually two large men will be punching each other in the face.  Or more accurately, from what I saw, Steve Austin will be punching Dolph Lundgren's body double in the face.  Regardless, that's really all we're waiting for at this point.

'The Package' was directed by one Jesse V. Johnson, a young man who has made a number of low budget action films that I'm fond of.  In fact, if you had told me beforehand we had Dolph and Stone cold being guided by the steady hand of Jesse V. Johnson, I'd lay even money that we would have a film I'm almost guaranteed to enjoy.  Thus is the genesis of my ultimate disappointment with this one as it didn't completely bring the goods home on almost any level… action, story… with the strong point in the whole exercise probably being… damn… the acting.  I know, right?

The thing is I was sitting there waiting for this film to really get going, but it only manages to go in fits and spurts.  Far be it for me to decry a film for spending time to develop its characters, but I'm not too sure I needed these characters clearly defined to enjoy the movie.  Tommy spending quiet time with his wife was sweet and all, and I guess we are a little relieved that the pretty woman wasn't taken hostage as what tends to happen to all pretty women attached to the hero in a movie like this, but watching Stone Cold emoting feelings of love isn't exactly what most of us signed on for.  And since she wasn't taken hostage and didn't get naked, I am kind of wondering why she was even in the movie in the first place.  Even the scenes with his brother felt as if we could've done without them as it provided only opportunities for Stone Cold to emote some more.  And it's not that Steve is bad at it, but he's not good at it either. 

What is he good at?  Pretending to punch people in the face, that's what, but even the action wasn't as crisp or as well executed as I would expect from a JVJ joint starring Stone Cold and Dolph Lundgren. 

Our FCU calculated theorem of expectant results were just a little higher for 'The Package' than your average run-of-the-mill low budget VOD action feature… my fault for placing these expectations on this film… but still, 'The Package' was painfully maudlin and mediocre, when I was expecting just a little bit more.
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