Johnny Gallagher, a sergeant, is sent from Germany with a prisoner. The prisoner escapes from the men's room at National Airport and Hackman begins his search for his man. Enlisting the help of his ex-wife and various old friends, he finds that the prisoner is part of a plot by senior military personnel on both sides to kill a very high-ranking world figure in order to sabotage arms control talks.Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The "Christmas present" Walter Henke gets, the rifle (which is identical to Boyette's assassin weapon, of course), is indeed Austrian as Henke says, it's a Steyr AUG Bullpup 5.56mm universal rifle, manufactured by Steyr Mannlicher. It is the standard service rifle with several militaries including the Austrian Army, Australian Army, and the Irish Defence Forces. See more »
Reni Santoni is credited as a Chicago Police Lieutenant, but just before he arrests Gallagher, the rank on his cap piece is clearly that of "Captain". See more »
The end of the Cold War and the toppling of the Berlin Wall made this film outdated almost before it was released. Nevertheless, it remains one of the best conspiracy mystery/thrillers ever made. The plot is amazingly intricate, but by the finish everything is tied up neatly, with no loose ends, a rarity for this type of story.
Gene Hackman is at his no-nonsense best as Johnny Gallagher, a career military man caught up in a complex assassination scheme. As the events unfold, he becomes more and more personally involved, which serves to ratchet up the tension for the audience. His relationships with his ex-wife Eileen (Joanna Cassidy) and the 'package' of the title, a prisoner that Johnny is assigned to escort into the U.S. from Berlin (played by Tommy Lee Jones in top form), are what really elevate "The Package" into the first rank of suspense dramas. The scenes featuring Hackman and Jones together are wonderful examples of understatement, as the larger political conflict becomes a personal one. Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue) turns up in a great supporting role.
"The Package" maintains an entertaining balance between action movie excitement and character-driven drama. The political background may be out of date, but the fine acting and writing deliver a story that is still compelling.
EDIT by author, 08.30.2006 Note: I saw this film during its original theatrical run. Events at that time (late 80's) moved so rapidly, the political situation had changed significantly between the start of production and its release. It was meant to be occurring in the present, not designed as a period piece. That is what I mean by outdated, which in no way detracted from the film's quality, or my enjoyment of it.
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