The Package (1989) Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review



A gripping thriller with crackerjack direction by Andrew Davis, The Package deserves top marks all around.


A conspiracy to upend a nuclear arms treaty between Russia and the USA will come to pass if a rogue soldier doesn’t save the day.



An unprecedented nuclear arms treaty between the USA and Russia is on the cusp of going into effect when a covert conspiracy is hatched behind the scenes by a group that will start a new war to keep America at the forefront of the arms race. When a mid-level ranking soldier named Johnny Gallagher (Gene Hackman) with a history of screwing up but doing a great job despite his faults is assigned to a seemingly simple task of accompanying an incarcerated US solider from Germany to the US to face a court martial, the solider (played by Tommy Lee Jones) escapes as soon as they land at the airport, forcing Gallagher to hunt him down. When Gallagher realizes that the solider he’s hunting is not the man he thought he was, but impersonating another soldier, he suddenly finds himself in a position where he’s being blamed not only for the escape of the man, but for a murder as well. On the run with his ex-wife who out-ranks him in the military (played by Joanna Cassidy) who vows to help him, Gallagher is stunned when covert agents are hunting him down to silence and kill him before he has a chance to solve the mystery behind this conspiracy that goes all the way to the top. If he doesn’t stop an assassin from killing the Russian president at the peace summit, World War III will erupt, and there will be no going back!


A gripping thriller with crackerjack direction by Andrew Davis, The Package really set the template for Davis’s career trajectory after he did Code of Silence with Chuck Norris and Above the Law with Steven Seagal. His ability to make Chicago look and feel alive and realistic is unparalleled, and after this film he did Under Siege and then The Fugitive. The plot for this film is complicated but satisfying once it congeals, and while Tommy Lee Jones is relegated to a supporting role with very little dialogue, he presents himself as dangerous and unpredictable. Dennis Franz has a great supporting turn as a Chicago cop who did a tour of duty with Hackman’s character, and his rapport with Hackman is fantastic. Top marks all around, and it has a very satisfying conclusion. James Newton Howard did the score.


Kino Lorber’s brand new Blu-ray release of The Package comes in a nice looking high definition transfer, and comes with a new audio commentary by Davis and Cassidy, plus a new interview with Cassidy, and a new intro by Davis, plus trailers.