Thursday, 13 June 2013

No.104 : The Package

The Package at the IMDb

 When a film stars Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren you know it isn’t going to be Oscar bait; but is it a credible entry in the wrestler becomes action hero genre? Hmmm, not really!

Stone Cold plays Tommy Wick and I don’t think that was intended as rhyming slang. Wick is an ex-marine reduced to debt collecting for a mob boss due to his indebted brother being in prison. I think you are meant to think he’s a decent guy but he comes across as a sadistic asshole as we join him on a routine collection job at the bowling alley. He sticks one guy’s head through a table and another into the ball return slot before giving him the obligatory 24 hours to pay.

He returns to his boss with the day’s takings and gets another job; to deliver a package to ‘The German’ for a fat bonus that’ll see his brother’s debts written off. We’ve already met The German (Lundgren) who turns a double cross into his favour when he kills a dozen heavily armed guys with a small knife. He’s tasty too you see - I can see a big fight finale in our future!

Tommy goes on his delivery job with his colleague reasonably asking why can’t the Fed-Ex the package, which is a small computer drive. This logic is not required and he gets a shot in the head for his troubles from an unseen sniper. Rather than come to a slow stop their vehicle does a massive flip from which only a wrestler with a two foot neck can escape. Luckily we have one and when the rival gang snatch squad arrive to recover the package Tommy is ready to kill loads of them in slow motion.

Realising this shit got real Tommy calls his boss but is persuaded to carry on as the threatened 50% pay cut would endanger his brother. Meanwhile The German is doing his own handiwork and teaching various henchmen the finer points of music and smoothies before killing them all - what a waste of an education.

Eventually Tommy is captured and after some very mild torture escapes only to get caught again and delivered to The German. Once again Tommy is strapped to a table and the Smoking Man off ‘The X-Files’ is ready to go to work on him. Can Tommy escape and will the secret of ‘the package’ be a surprise to anyone?

This was a dreadful film but it just about qualifies as a guilty pleasure. The acting is uniformly awful as is the action which mainly consisted of slow speed fist fights. People were taking half a dozen haymakers to the jaw with no effect. The gun play was worse with Austin spraying bullets like fly spray. He seemed constantly surprised when he ran out of bullets but we all knew that was just an excuse to punch some more face.

Attempts to soften Austin’s image with some intimate moments with his wife were wasted as you were too worried that she’d get splinters from the big lump of wood in her bed. Swedish Dolph excels at being a bad actor playing a German and his fighting skills have faded badly since he took that beating off Rocky Balboa.

The action takes place over the course of the day and although there are about 50 deaths and a million bullets spent it seems like the longest day you’ll ever endure. It was decent brain-dead action but you have nothing invested in anyone involved and when the credits roll you feel slight ashamed that you have spent 90 minutes in their charmless company.

THE Tag Line : Package Fails to Deliver  43%

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