The Package [VHS]
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Product Description

Gene Hackman is a career officer assigned a routine mission well beneath him: deliver a prisoner (Tommy Lee Jones) from Europe to the United States. However, the simple assignment becomes a daring cat-and-mouse game played as the last flames of the Cold War are flickering. This is the first of three films that teamed Jones with director Andrew Davis. In 1989 Jones was a wild card: an actor respected but only popping up in grade B fare. After Davis's Under Siege and The Fugitive, Jones was America's favorite gruff character actor, with an Oscar on his mantel. With a weaker script, Davis still creates the same kind of magic here. Hackman is superb as the officer, an action role similar to others that the nearly 60-year-old unexpectedly excelled at (Bat 21, Narrow Margin) during this period. Tight, tense, and with no letup in the third act, The Package is a good gem for a Saturday night flick. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews:

  • Well worth seeing
    This is not The French Connection, but Hackman is, as always, rock solid, and the supporting cast (particularly Tommy Lee Jones) is superb. The plot is improbable, with Russian and U.S. officers conspiring to continue the cold war and the case broken by a sergeant formerly married to a lieutenant colonel, who are basically operating independently against all of the forces that be. Their success (guaranteed in a quintessentially American movie) reaffirms American beliefs concerning independence and integrity while it provides some action/adventure in the process. The canvas is a little large and there are some gaffes and shaky production values, but this is a reliable way to spend a slow evening. It's also nice to see Hackman doing a credible high crawl through rough terrain in snow. He's the man....more info
  • Pre-packaged thriller cliches
    Gene Hackman plays a career army man who is duped into transporting a prisoner to the US as part of a complicated assassination scheme in this tired, contrived relic of Cold War paranoia. High ranking military officials on both sides are in cahoots to derail disarmament talks and Hackman, along with ex-wife Joanna Cassidy, are the only ones who can stop them. Stock secondary characters are on hand to provide a piece of needed information or pull our heroes' fat out of the fire and then die on schedule as required by the screenplay so that the viewer can feel the Sense of Danger and Urgency. The twists and turns of the plot are uninvolving and the climax is thoroughly conventional. The talented cast does what it can to elevate the proceedings....more info
  • Skip it
    The Package was quite a disappointment considering the presence of Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones among others.
    A U.S. sergeant witnesses the assassination of a high ranking American military officer during peace talks held in Germany between Washington and Moscow. Shortly after the incident he receives orders to return home accompanying a prisoner. Things quickly become more complicated when `the package' makes a run for it...
    In short, the acting is all right (though nothing great), while the plot and the dialogues are average and below average respectively.
    The movie does bring to mind The Fugitive, though this film does not really provide as much entertainment.
    Though the potential for a good movie was definitely there it fails to take off, primarily due to the writers and the poor choice of lines and weak plot.
    In a nutshell, it's a mediocre movie and that's about it; no masterpiece here... 2.2 Stars
    ...more info
  • The Package Rocks
    Very good cold war suspence film with typically good performances by Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones. You won't be disappointed. I was really surprised. I thought it would be good, but it was better than that....more info
  • Over looked "Gem" shines with Hackman and Jones in command
    I love this lesser known Action Thriller set in the last days of the cold war. Hackman and Jones are pitch perfect as hero and villain,squareing off after Hackman brings prisoner Tommy Lee back from Germany only to get attacked and Jones escapes. Then the set-ups ,Double crosses, and conspiracy's start. Never a dull moment and both men are at the top of their game....more info
  • Good thriller, lousy DVD.
    Bravo MGM; you've managed yet again to screw up a great movie with a terrible DVD. -It's actually an ORION picture, and I'd hoped that they would've cared more about its appearance, but no such luck. Of my 100+ DVDs, this is one of the worst looking with dull colors and a fuzzy image. (Let's hope they're more careful with their upcoming Woody Allen ORION collection.) This is a rather oldfashioned straight-ahead action suspenser like they just don't make them anymore in Hollywood, but it's difficult to be thrilled about that when you know you can enjoy a much sharper version on TV. Hackman, Heard, Cassidy and Jones lead a good cast, but in order to see them clearly we desperately need a remastering of this otherwise wonderful movie. Until then, avoid like the plague....more info
  • it's "Fugitive" Lite!
    just saw an amazingly clean print of this on one of the national cable channels, first viewing since theatrical release. What struck me immediately were the similarities to The Fugitive, director Andrew Davis' later film, most notably the Chicago shooting locations, actors, and plot elements. There's the Hilton Towers' ballroom (locale of the medical-conference confrontation between Drs. Kimble and Sykes)! There's the bagpipe parade! There's Ron Dean (Fugitive's Detective Kelly "Now you all know in what high regard I hold this scumbag") as a cop! Regardless, The Package never really gels as a thriller--and the Cold War denouement plot is obviously dated--although Davis' directorial style (lots of medium and long shots, few closeups, harsh and gloomy light/color) always gets points for relying on the music score rather than hyperkinetic editing to build tension. But it is fun to watch Hackman and Jones together (even if they're not exactly chewing up scenes with their usual aplomb) and more fun to check out the late-80s hair (Joanna Cassidy's is piled high; Dennis Franz actually has some)....more info
  • A Well Done Military Suspense Thriller, With Gene Hackman
    This movie has always seemed to me to be one of the most efficient, best crafted of its type, the military suspense thriller. And one of the most under-rated, too.

    Gene Hackman stars as Sergeant Johnny Gallagher, an Army lifer who finds himself up to his ears in a ruthless conspiracy to assassinate the Soviet leader when the man visits Chicago. Gallagher had been stationed in West Berlin. His squad failed to stop the assassination of a U.S. Army general who had been taking part in a top military meeting in the outskirts of Berlin. Semi-disgraced, he is given the job of escorting an Army sergeant under arrest, the package, to Washington. But he's mugged in the D.C. airport and the prisoner escapes. Then he discovers the photo of the prisoner doesn't match the guy he was escorting. As he tries to find out what's going on, people start getting killed.

    This movie works, I think, for several reasons. First, we know what's going on before Gallagher does, so there is the pleasure of watching him figure things out. There is a conspiracy, we realize, involving top U.S. and Soviet generals to sabotage the signing of a nuclear disarmament treaty. This will be done by killing the Soviet leader in Chicago on a visit to sign the treaty. The assassin, Tommy Lee Jones, is being provided by the senior American officers taking part in the plot. Gallagher at first stumbles around, but slowly, using his intelligence and with the help of the few friends he can count on, he begins to put things together. We know where this is going, but the fun is in seeing how Gallagher thinks and then acts. Second, Hackman's performance, as usual, is excellent. Hackman was 59 when he made this movie, but he is every bit believable as a shrewd, action-focused Army sergeant. He's nearly matched by Tommy Lee Jones as the cynical, amused hit man who doesn't respect anyone. Dennis Franz as a tough Chicago cop and John Heard as a ruthless Army colonel both give first-rate performances. Third, Andrew Davis keeps the movie moving quickly, with clues discovered, shoot-outs, near misses, chases. The plot is complicated, but Davis plays fair. Watch the movie again and it still makes sense.

    It's interesting to compare this movie or The Fugitive, both by Davis, with an other good movie he directed, Holes. The Package and The Fugitive couldn't be more different than Holes, but all three, in my view, are very well handled. The DVD transfer is very good....more info
  • POLITICAL THRILLER WITH OVERTONES OF THE JFK ASSASSINATION..
    ..only in this case, its a Russian premier they are after. The ending, i.e., the very last scene is a macabre twist, which leaves the audience intrigued about who was running it all. Overall a predictably Hollywood production with some inspiration from Oswald findings. Occasionally a well-done action sequence or two injects some life into the picture, but it never really grabs fully, instead leads us to a quick, anticlimactic ending which doesn't reward us for our patience. The pace is commendable, the characters sacrificed for the plot (as in a typical thriller) and the twists and turns are engaging. Worthy rental, nothing more nothing less....more info
  • A great political espionage film
    The Package is one of the best films about the end of the Cold War. The plot was interesting and easy to follow. The characters were impressive. I don't think that this was a weak or depressing film at all....more info
  • A Great Political Suspense Thriller
    Andrew Davis directs this 1989 political thriller starring Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones. A great spy thriller that keeps its audience in mystery and suspense until almost the end. Along with 'Hunt for Red October' and 'Patriot Games', this is one of the better spy/political thrillers to come out of the late 80s and early 90s.

    In this film, Gene Hackman is an officer stationed in Germany who's assigned to pick up a miscreant soldier (Tommy Lee Jones) coming from Berlin. Hackman loses his precious cargo when in the US and finds some very strange inconsistencies as he searches for him. Uncovering a major political plot, Hackman races against time to clear himself and expose the culprits.

    An excellent political thriller with very good acting on the part of Hackman and Jones. A good movie to either rent or own....more info
  • STRONG PERFORMANCES HIGHLIGHT THIS THRILLER
    Somehow "The Package" seems to have become one of those films that fell through the cracks of the general public interest and has never received the credit it deserves as a top-notch action/thriller. With a cast featuring Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones you have two magnificent, veteran actors who play well off each other throughout. Hackman plays Career soldier Johnny Gallagher assigned to deliver a package from Berlin to the United States. The package just happens to be Thomas Boyette (Jones)who is a military prisoner.

    Once returned to the states, Boyette manages to escape and now begins a cat and mouse game as Gallagher races to find the fugitive who turns out to be an assassin with plans on killing a Soviet Leader and breaking the cold war peace process. Boyette uses clever diguises to avoid capture as he plans his kill. Gallagher receives some much needed assistanc in the form of his ex-wife Eileen (Joanna Cassidy) and Dennis Franz playing yet another tough cop as Detective Milan. Pam Grier and John Heard round out the stellar cast.

    Director Andrew Davis would direct Tommy Lee Jones in two more thrillers "under Siege" and "The Fugitive" and proves himself quite deft at handling action/thrillers and mixing between the intrigue and gunplay very well. Hackman is just always a joy to watch and brings such beleivability to every role he plays. This is a top-notch thriller! ...more info
  • The Package
    Having seen "The Jackal" both versions, I think this sort of remake of them is far above par and quite more realistic, with a grain of salt, but the main interest of this movie is Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones. Both actors give an exemplary rendition of their roles and should have gotten oscars. Unfortunately, the plot and scenario do not lend themselves to Oscars. Still highly recommended, I plan to see it again....more info
  • Strannix, are you there?
    Why did it seem like Tommy Lee Jones was doing his 'Strannix thing" from "Under Siege" in this movie? The plot winds into predictable end that makes you say "Where have I seen this before?" The movie seemed like a ripoff of so many other political/assassination-type flicks I've seen before. Not many surprises (if any) in this movie....more info
  • Yearning for Kojak
    My husband and 19-year-old daughter abandoned me in the TV room about halfway through. They didn't miss much. Tommy Lee had some funny lines. Gene Hackman was good, but it was painful to watch, knowing how much more he can do. I have to watch "The Conversation" about 5 more times so I can wash away the bad memory of this clunker. The motivations of the characters were beyond contrived, the music was on the level of Baretta, and the minor players were utterly forgettable. The best scene was in the first quarter of the movie, when Hackman and Jones meet, and some sparks fly. Once that's over, you can watch something else....more info