There’s little doubt Gene Hackman is a top actor and one I enjoy watching immensely. However personally I’ve always preferred it when he takes the lead role rather than just as a co-star. The film I’m taking a look at today The Package from 1989 is indeed a starring role. Prior to watching the film I had assumed I must have already seen it, however I can honestly say I’d never seen it before. Anyway the film has recently released on Blu-ray thanks to 88 films. I was a little concerned as this film comes from the MGM stable and that usually means a terrible print. So it’s time to find out whether or not you should be purchasing this new version, so without further ado here’s my The Package Blu-ray Review.
- The Package Blu-ray Review (1989)
- Genre: Thriller
- Running Time: 108 Mins
- UK Rating 15
- Discs: 1
- Released By 88 Films
- Blu-ray Released: 4 December 2017
Set during the cold war in which the two superpowers are on the brink of agreeing to completely eliminate nuclear weapons, Sergeant Johnny Gallagher (Gene Hackman) is sent on an apparent routine job to deliver a prisoner (aka package) from Germany into the United States. However once in America he is set upon by a group of men, once he regains consciousness he finds his prisoner has long gone. When he begins to look for the whereabouts of his prisoner he discovers that he is in fact part of a huge conspiracy that may just undermine the recent warming in relationships between the US and USSR. Sergeant Gallagher also appears to have been setup as the fall guy which threatens his own life.
Style / Direction
The film is directed by Andrew Davis with the cinematography handled by Frank Tidy. The film is set in two snowy locations starting off in Berlin before moving back to American and Chicago. Not only is it full of snow but it’s also set in the build up to Christmas which adds to the overall feel and drama.
There no doubt in my mind that director Andrew Davis delivers somewhat of masterpiece in The Package. It’s a fabulous cold war thriller that keeps up hooked throughout. There plenty of tension interspersed with action whilst the story is interesting and well told.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is provided by James Newton Howard and is very much a tense affair which works very well for a cold war thriller.
Acting / Characters
All of the main characters put in excellent performances with Gene Hackman, Joanna Cassidy and Dennis Franz the standout performers. Tommy Lee Jones plays his role well and although his role is a key one it’s also somewhat of a smaller one until the latter part of the film, still he does indeed deliver a good performance.
However this is very much a Gene Hackman film and one he excels in. I loved his portrayal of characters such as “Popeye Doyle” in The French Connection and his character of Sergeant Johnny Gallagher is another tough no-nonsense kind of guy. That said he plays well alongside Joanna Cassidy whom just happens to play his ex-wife and U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Gallagher. The two work well as he initially seeks her out for help only to draw her in and put her life at risk.
The other character I really liked is another familiar face, that of Dennis Franz who you might know from Hill Street Blues or NYPD Blue on television or from the film Die Hard 2 all of which he just so happens to play a police detective. He is one of those supporting actors that just makes the film or television series better just for him being in it.
- Gene Hackman as U.S. Army Master Sergeant Johnny Gallagher
- Joanna Cassidy as U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Gallagher
- Tommy Lee Jones as Thomas Boyette / Walter Henke
- John Heard as U.S. Army Colonel Glen Whitacre
- Dennis Franz as Chicago Police Lieutenant Milan Delich
- Pam Grier as U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Ruth Butler
- Reni Santoni as Chicago Police lieutenant
Conclusion – The Package Film Review
The Package is a thoroughly entertaining cold war thriller that every film fan should add to their must see list of films. Hackman delivers yet another memorable performance this time as US Army Sergeant Johnny Gallagher. If you have never seen The Package I highly recommend checking it out I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed. If you like films such as No Way Out (1987) starring Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman and Sean Young then you will love this one.
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The Package Blu-ray Review
This new Blu-ray release of The Package by 88 Films should have given me real cause for concern simply because it’s from the MGM stable. That usually means pretty terrible picture quality, however on this occasion my fears were largely misplaced.
Overall the picture quality is good, the higher resolution certainly makes for improved viewing whilst the image is sharp and the colour vibrant. Now on to the negatives, there are a few tiny white specks that appear throughout the film, thankfully these are indeed small and don’t interfere with the enjoyment of watching the film.
It would have been nice if The Package had have been given a 2K restoration but this version is actually pretty good. Put it this way I have no problem recommending purchasing the Blu-ray whether upgrading from DVD or simply buying for the first time.
On the extras front there’s nothing other than a trailer which is a little disappointing especially as The Package is far from image perfect so no money was thrown in that direction which would mitigate the lack of extra features.
- Original Trailer
- Reversible Sleeve
On to my movie rating for The Package (1989)
- Movie Rating: MUST SEE
- Blu-ray Picture: GOOD
- Extras: BASIC
The Package (1989) is available now on Blu-ray.
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For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version
If you like my The Package Blu-ray Review you may want to check out these films:
- Cash on Demand (1961)
- Pulp (1972)
- Maniac (1963)
- The Anderson Tapes (1971)
- The Day of the Jackal (1973)
- Wolf (1994)
So that’s my The Package Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:
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The Package Blu-ray Review (1989)
Director(s): Andrew Davis
Actor(s): Gene Hackman, Joanna Cassidy, Tommy Lee Jones, John Heard, Dennis Franz, Reni Santoni
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
The Package is a thoroughly entertaining cold war thriller.