The Package (1989) Poster

(1989)

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8/10
Outstanding, Intelligent, Under-appreciated
raymond_chandler3 August 2001
The end of the Cold War and the toppling of the Berlin Wall made this film outdated almost before it was released.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 The political background may be out of date, but the fine acting and writing deliver a story that is still compelling.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 That is what I mean by outdated, which in no way detracted from the film's quality, or my enjoyment of it.
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8/10
The conspiracy
jotix10014 April 2005
Andrew Davis shows with "The Package" his affinity to this type of thriller which was better realized in "The Fugitive", but as films of this genre go, it makes satisfying entertainment. As written by John Bishop, the film will not bore anyone, although the plot is at times so convoluted it loses our credibility.

"The Package" takes us from Berlin to Chicago. It involves corrupt officers within the higher ups in the armed forces who don't want to see any type of peace between the two super powers at the center of the story, the United States and the Soviet Union.

This film came out as the Berlin wall was falling. Of course, the Mr. Bishop couldn't have foreseen the future, but after watching the movie, it makes us think this could well have occurred because of the parties involved. The film also points into the subversive groups operating within our country which is an added confusion to the plot.

Gene Hackman is tremendously appealing as Johnny Gallagher, the man who is responsible for solving the puzzle. Tommy Lee Jones, is the paid assassin Thomas Boyette who, in true thriller fashion appears to be one step ahead of everyone else. Joanna Cassidy makes a good contribution as Eileen Gallagher. John Heard is an intense military man who wants to get rid of whoever comes in his path. Dennis Franz is seen as the kind Chicago detective that realizes the immensity of what is being planned.

"The Package" is a good entertainment under Andrew Davis' direction who gets solid performances from the talented team assembled for the movie.
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7/10
Intriguing cold war movie with the timing a little off
blanche-221 October 2007
Tommy Lee Jones is "The Package," a prisoner that Gene Hackman is returning to the United States from Germany in this 1989 film also starring Joanna Cassidy, Dennis Franz and John Heard. The United States and the Soviet Union are in the midst of delicate peace negotiations, but there are factions of the military who don't want to see it happen. Jones is Tommy Boyette, their hired assassin who, through an intricate plot, is supposed to kill the soviet premier. Boyette escapes via a mens room while the Hackman character, Johnny Gallagher, is returning him to the states. Gallagher starts investigating; it's not long before he's uncovered the plot.

This is a very good movie with some exciting sequences and lots of tension, as Gallagher finds himself and everyone around him in tremendous danger as he figures out what's going on. He has the help of his ex-wife (Joanna Cassidy) who is in the military, and a Chicago police officer, played by Dennis Franz.

The problem with this film is in its timing - it was released in August 1989 in the U.S., and in November of that year, the Berlin Wall came down, rendering the film dated -- and it had only been released in two countries by then. It's nevertheless a well-acted, well-directed film. Seen today, it holds up better as a story set in the past than it did a story set in a present that was changing dramatically.
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8/10
Entertaining, and not really dated
photoe13 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
One of the biggest slams against this film is that it is supposedly dated in regards to the USSR and Cold War politics, but it takes place more during Perestroika and the end of the Cold War, so it retains a setting in a particular place in time. Perhaps it might be dated to those under 30, who can't appreciate the import of the times, but it, at least, offers a reasonable glimpse into its times.

The Package tightly builds a portrait of a shadow force working against an elected government, so in that sense, it is timeless. It's been on constant rotation on the THIS channel, and a third watching showed me how much the writers thoroughly worked out the various threads ahead of time, providing not only a patsy for the assassination attempt, but a method by where he would have been arrested and documented as a white supremacist ahead of time.

It's hard to go wrong in a film with Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Dennis Franz, who all implement the characters they're known for.

My only real issue is at the end, when the narration implies that a public investigation exposed the conspiracy afterwards in Congress. We all know that isn't what generally happens. If anything, it makes the USA of 1990 look like a more moral country than it is now, probably because it was.

It's not the most original conspiracy story I've ever seen, but it's well thought out and executed, with plenty of references to the Kennedy conspiracy/Manchurian Candidate and the principles make it constantly entertaining.
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7/10
Gene Hackman makes a good thriller even better
NewEnglandPat14 August 2005
Gene Hackman is great in this good political thriller that has plenty of action, twists and surprises as he races against time to thwart an assassination attempt. The target of the hit is the Russian premier who's scheduled to visit Chicago and sign the disarmament treaty with the President that would end the threat of nuclear war. The movie takes off when Hackman's prisoner escapes from a Washington airport and sets in motion the events that lead to the picture's tense payoff. Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones have great chemistry between them during their brief screen time, and most of the film is about Hackman and Joanne Cassidy hunting for Jones while staying out of harm's way as unknown killers hunt them down. Dennis Franz and Thalmus Rasulala are good in supporting roles as the chase scenes intensify against the backdrop of Chicago's skyscrapers and downtown areas.
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9/10
One of the best political thrillers ever
oeoaa3 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw the "The Package" as a video rental back in 1990. It's not only one of Andrew Davis' best films, but one of the best political thrillers I think ever made. The plot is as intricate and complex as movie viewers will see. Just take some of the best elements of a Tom Clancy novel, set it in an urban setting, namely Chicago where Davis is from, and you've got a typical Andrew Davis film. Like "The Fugitive" "Above the Law" and "Code of Silence", "The Package" sets its story around a plot filled with conspiracies, cover-ups and political power games. The plot, as I said, is intricate. Some in this forum and elsewhere said it's too confusing. Perhaps. So is the real-life JFK assassination. But all of the bells and whistles are necessary. The story (and here's a spoiler warning for you!) is about a plot to assassinate the Russian President during a U.S. summit held in Chicago. The plot involves high-level American and Russian political and military officials. What they hope to accomplish is somewhat revealed in the end. The Cold War --in the film-- is ending, but some in the U.S. government don't want to see that happen. So, a scheme is concocted to find a patsy, set him up as a radical, and frame him for the assassination. The Russians, presumably, will blame the United States for their president's death, regardless of the circumstances. What will all this lead to? World War III? A new Cold War? A coup d'etat in the American government? The film, understandably, leaves that up for speculation. The ride is more fun than sometimes the payoff in this kind of film. That's pretty much this movie's plot. But then again, this is a plot in many movies. Other films, however, fail to give us a compelling story. Not the case with "The Package." Too many movies just gives us wall-to-wall action with a cookie-cutter plot to get us from one action scene to the next. The good thing about this film is that there are plenty of action scenes, but the real enjoyment is trying to piece the puzzle together. So, if you like those type of thrillers, you'll love this film.

TLD - Chicago
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Fictionalized thriller reuses real life elements from the Kennedy assassination.
lizziebeth-112 August 2002
Warning: Spoilers
The real star of The Package (1989) is the original story, written by John Bishop.

This political thriller is an even better-mounted Andrew Davis production than Under Siege (1992) which came soon after. It stars Gene Hackman as John Gallagher, the putated hero, and he does have a few good lines, eg when his team puzzles over why a lone man in uniform paces in the cold: "That's a general, guys. Generals do a lot of thinking. Whenever I'm asked to be one, I always say No", he jokes with his men.

Tommy Lee's character's identity as possibly a Thomas Boyette is crucial to the plot, so I don't want to blow the suspense. But suffice to say that the "package" is actually the person of TLJ, whom Johnny Gallagher has to escort off the Glienicker Bridge out of East Berlin, and then back onto USA soil, supposedly as punishment for Gallagher having lost a firefight with terrorists who kill the same general he and his team observed pacing earlier.

This is a clever rework of the wilderness of mirrors of the Kennedy assassination. The movie centers around a plot at the highest levels of both the US and Soviet armies. A small cabal of Cold Warrior hawks conspires to destabilize and possibly destroy the peace process of détente, which was well on its way to success.

They don't agree with "the removal of the nuclear shield", ie of the constant threat of (M)utually (A)ssured (D)estruction. (It was the policy until the very détente came to pass which this movie examines. Yes, its acronym really is MAD. You can bet a lot of mileage was made of that for decades.) But just what is the cabal actually planning? Who ordered the hit on that general, and why?

A number of the characters reveal their alternate identities from time to time. TLJ in particular is a chameleon, but I think he is best when he pretends to be (possibly) Secret Service. He wears Macintoshes really well. Some of his costumes don't always suit him, but he's fairly believable as a priest performing a live drop at a bus depot. (When two people surreptitiously try to pick up each other's goods in public, that's called a "live drop". They're usually done at depots. A "dead drop" is when one person deposits something in a hidden place and then marks an agreed-upon signal to indicate there is something to be picked up for whoever comes along much later.)

Like I said, the plot showcases and moves the story along very nicely. The only two things that fail in the movie (for me, rather grossly) are the incessant but transparent attempts by some unseen hand repeatedly yanking Gallagher's chain, and the fact that he keeps extricating himself and getting away. Others keep dropping dead all around Gallagher, but he's always fine. It gets really, really frustrating, because all the dead victims were soft targets who knew almost nothing but were terminated with prejudice, while Gallagher, who is in a position to figure out everything, they don't even attempt to kill until the last part of the movie. It's Gallagher that's the Teflon Kid, not ex-President Bill Clinton!

The most chilling line (this is a thriller, after all) is delivered by Karl Richards "from Intelligence" (Ron Dean), Henke's rather unassuming, avuncular handler. When the pointedly naive Henke observes that "This setup is perfect. Really", meaning his own brand new office, Karl agrees that "Yeah. It is", and we get chills of realization that there is much more going on than Henke is aware of. Here's my spoiler (apologies): Henke's the patsy. He's the patsy in exactly the same way that we're supposed to be reminded Oswald was. Henke is even "sheep-dipped" (tarred with a false reputation exactly opposite to what he was being used as) the same way as Oswald was, handing out anti-Communist leaflets on the street, exactly the same as Oswald. The analogy is unmistakable.

Dennis Franz repeats his stereotype role as police detective Milan (Gallagher's ex-wife, the formidable Eileen Gallagher (Joanna Cassidy) pronounces it incorrectly as "Mylon") Delich, the gruff detective who is nevertheless deep. Franz is, as always, very credible, with great cop's reflexes, and he even has a very brave scene where he stands his ground in a shootout, despite being already wounded. Franz began doing Buntz during his years on Hill Street Blues, which I can recall, and for me it's always nice to see "Buntz" again. Franz has spoken of his apparent typecasting, but he for one actually enjoys it. It's a character he enjoys exploring indefinitely, he says.

As for our satisfaction at the ending - it's pretty satisfying, but sad. Glen Whitacre (John Heard) is chillingly premature when he spits at Gallagher that "you're a dead man". He constantly underestimates everybody, including his own situation, so I guess he's probably the dumbest of the co-conspirators. He gets a run for his money, though, from the salt-and-pepper team of dumb rough guys for the cabal, who look like Frick and Frack. They keep turning up everywhere in different guises. They even turn up as a couple of good guys in other Andrew Davis movies, who has obviously cottoned onto the notion of using the same stable of actors in his movies wherever possible.

All in all, a very well developed story, if perhaps a little overdeveloped in order to keep Gallagher alive and well enough to do damage. 9/10.
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7/10
Workable thriller.
rmax30482326 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Kind of an enjoyable, undemanding political thriller in which Tommy Lee Jones is a hired assassin and Gene Hackman is an Army sergeant who tries to find him, while he himself is hunted by the police after being framed for a murder.

There are predictable elements in the plot. A car chase through the streets of Chicago, a bloody assassination in Germany, Russians who scowl and look like albino prunes, Nazi thugs, bullets through the forehead, a sniper with a very professional looking rifle, a patsy, a vast right-wing conspiracy involving the Army, the Chicago police, and some independent agents.

Actually, the plot lost me here and there. (Why did Jones have to be smuggled into the USA under a false identity?) But it doesn't matter. Things roll right along, with fine location shooting in a bleak Chicago winter. Those snowy windy deserted alleys will freeze your eyeballs for you.

Hackman has never damaged a film he's been in. Tommy Lee Jones is unique in his delivery. Joanna Cassidy has a face full of character. Hardy Kruger looks just as he did 30 years ago. What happened to his career? He's hardly on screen here, and is only given two lines, one of them in Russian. And he was so good in "Sundays and Cybele." Dennis Franz contributes an authentic Chicago accent, which somehow manages to transmogrify the word "car" into "care". All of which is to say the acting is quite good.

It's a relatively realistic movie too. Nobody performs superhero stunts. Hackman is the hero and yet is flawed enough to get beaned over the head and, later, captured. Nobody leaps tall buildings in a single bound. There are no exploding fireballs or heads. The narrative is straightforward and unadorned by slow-motion deaths or fancy photography. The director has shown a bit of taste.

If you're not in the mood to have your thought provoked or your emotions gripped, this is a good movie to watch, as you while away your time.
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6/10
Not bad, but somehow predictable
lostinaction28 March 2009
During this movie I had some fun to predict what will happen next. If you had watched (or read) many Thrillers with the Cold War as Topic it's quite easy. This movie is like a time travel back to 1980's. The music score was typical 80's as the photography of the action scenes. Not only the photography and the score were solid like all the actors. Gene Hackman was the leading cast next to Tommy Lee Jones, Dennis Franz, Pam Grier and Joanna Cassidy. Gene Hackman is more or the less the same character as he was in many other thrillers. This time he is a good U.S. Sgt. who had some bad luck in his life but is still good enough to fight against all enemies of the U.S. Tommy Lee Jones is playing a villain and he always was great in such Roles. Hopefully he is doing more roles like that again in the future.

The suspenseful final wasn't without flaws but overall I enjoyed "The Package". Not the best Cold War Thriller but entertaining enough.
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A very good thriller
ijozic30 August 2001
This is a very good movie. It has a strong story (which most of the today's movies lack of) and a good relationship between characters. I have seen it a dozen times at least but I still find it rewarding to watch although I know it by heart. I think this should say something about the quality of the film. If you haven't seen it, do it. You won't regret it.
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6/10
basic scheme doesn't make sense
SnoopyStyle8 February 2015
Johnny Gallagher (Gene Hackman) is a sergeant guarding the peace negotiation in Germany with his men. They get attacked by a well organized group. Col. Glen Whitacre (John Heard) blames him for the failure as well as the failed hostage rescue in Iran. He suspects a group is aiming to assassin the President. Gallagher is ordered to take a prisoner (the package) disorderly sergeant Walter Henke (Tommy Lee Jones) back to the States. Henke escapes from the men's room at the airport with the help of several accomplices. Gallagher discovers that the man isn't actually Walter Henke. He enlists his ex-wife Eileen (Joanna Cassidy)'s help. Henke's wife is killed by an assassin and Gallagher is detained. Eileen discovers the package's true identity is Thomas Boyette. There is a conspiracy from both militaries to stop the treaty. Gallagher and Eileen enlists his old friend Chicago Police Lieutenant Milan Delich (Dennis Franz)'s help.

The basic scheme doesn't make too much sense. It seems to be way too complicated and it would be simpler to leave Gallagher out of it. If they want Henke as the patsy, then they need to kill Gallagher at the airport or use one of their own men to transport Boyette. It's obvious the scheme is fashioned after the premise of Hackman and TLJ is hatched by the writer. By letting Gallagher go at the airport, he's obviously going to look and find out that the prisoner isn't actually Henke. The story needs a few more passes to iron out these problems. If one turns off the brain, this thriller goes on auto pilot and does a good job with that. Hackman is always capable in these kinds of tense thrillers. As a historical oddity, the movie was released at around the same time that the people were circumventing the Berlin Wall signaling the end of the Cold War. The movie is overtaken by history just as it was released.
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7/10
Offers no surprises, but entertains in capable fashion.
Hey_Sweden28 December 2017
Gene Hackman plays Green Beret sergeant Johnny Gallagher; stationed in Germany, he receives the order to escort a habitually rebellious soldier (Tommy Lee Jones) back to the States for a court-martial. When the soldier, or "package", escapes from him, Johnny realizes that some sort of master conspiracy is going on, and that he basically got used. With both police and the military after him, he will be able to rely on just a select few people for assistance, including his ex-wife Eileen (who is herself in the military), and his old friend Milan Delich (Dennis Franz), a lieutenant with the Chicago P.D.

Somewhat under rated, among the scattering of classics on director Andrew Davis' resume, "The Package" is a slick conspiracy thriller melding themes of political intrigue and paranoia. Written by John Bishop, it's not a great story at all, but it is pretty entertaining. Even this viewer had an idea fairly early on where the story was headed, and it didn't exactly prove him wrong.

Still, it's pretty easy to watch, thanks to typically sharp direction by Davis, efficient pacing, and excellent use of both German and Chicago locations. The Windy City was Davis' old stamping ground, and he uses a number of his repertory players (you'll certainly recognize some of them). Hackman is an engaging hero, and he and the effervescent Cassidy do have some nice chemistry. Jones, in the first of his three collaborations with Davis, gets to have some fun, and be somewhat enigmatic; his character is a total mercenary, yet you never really learn much about him. Franz has one of his best feature film roles, and is allowed to head into the final battle right at Hackmans' side. Pam Grier and Reni Santoni are somewhat under utilized, but John Heard, Kevin Crowley, Ron Dean, Nathan Davis (Andrews' father), Chelcie Ross, Joe Greco, and Marco St. John comprise a very fine supporting cast. Heard, in particular, exudes pompous villainy in a subtle way. You don't see him chewing on the scenery.

All in all, good fun, although it's the kind of thing that might not hold up to any intense scrutiny from the viewer.

Seven out of 10.
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7/10
Solid cold war thriller
Tweekums16 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
As the cold war starts to thaw the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union are on the brink of signing an historic treaty that will lead to the scrapping of their nuclear arsenals… not everybody wants this to happen though; certain members of the military on both sides are determined to scupper the treaty. To this end Sgt. Gallagher is tasked with escorting prisoner Walter Henke from West Berlin to the US; to him it is a routine if somewhat tedious task but it soon becomes clear that it is anything but routine. His prisoner is helped to escape at the airport and when Gallagher goes to see the man's wife he learns that he wasn't Walter Henke! He goes to see his ex-wife, an army colonel, to see if she can help him get to the bottom of it; she and her assistant manage to find out that the man's real name is Thomas Boyette and he has a military record linking him to a series of war zones. Gallagher soon finds himself framed for the murder of Henke's wife so must go on the run with his ex. They follow the trail to Chicago where they meet up with policeman Lt. Milan Delich, an old friend of Gallagher's. As they get closer to Boyette they get in increasing danger as the conspirators are determined to stop them preventing Boyette from carrying out his mission.

This is a solid cold war thriller made when relationships between east and west were improving but nobody suspected that the Soviet Union would shortly cease to exist. Gene Hackman does a good job as Sgt. Gallagher and Tommy Lee Jones is fine as Boyette. The story is a bit far-fetched but if you can suspend your disbelief it is fairly gripping. There is a sense of paranoia as Gallagher has very few people he can trust and many of those who aren't actually bad think he is! There isn't a huge amount of over the top action but what there is, is fairly exciting and fairly believable. If you enjoy thrillers that have some mystery but aren't too convoluted you should enjoy this.
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Halfway decent
songwarrior5219 February 2002
A halfway decent "dry run" for the Andrew Davis repertory company that later surfaced in the same director's "The Fugitive' starring Harrison Ford. The story about "patsy" soldiers and an international assassination conspiracy is actually pretty good, until the usual string of preposterous occurrences help to bail protagonist Gene Hackman out of an impossible bind. Credibility is strained, then lost altogether when seriously wounded Chicago cop--played by Dennis Franz (who else?)--emerges from his hospital bed to help Hackman foil the bad guys. You know, if they thought about the endings with the attention to detail that they lavish on the big shootouts, they might actually have a chance to complete a good film.

Kevin Crowley is good in a major/minor role, preparing the way for his bit parts in "The Fugitive" and "Major League."
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6/10
Decent Cold War thriller
smatysia11 October 2004
A decent thriller with a fairly convoluted plot. This far removed from the Cold War, it's hard to remember what a threat the Soviet Union was, the incredible evil which she served as vanguard. This film was fairly leftish, seeing accommodation with the USSR as the ultimate good, and confrontation as the ultimate bad. (Sort of a hangover from the demonstrably dumb Nuclear Freeze Movement of the mid '80's) Must have been embarrassing three years later. Tommy Lee Jones and Dennis Franz were totally adequate here. Pam Grier seemed a lot more professional, and a lot prettier, than in the blaxploitation stuff I remember her from. And Joanna Cassidy was great. She played her role intense and low-key at the same time. And what can you say about Gene Hackman. Amazing, the career he's had, looking like that. He is the consummate professional actor, and of course, he had to be. I've never seen him in ANY role that he didn't pull off with seeming effortlessness. (Although I will say, that seeing him in the car scenes seemed to almost be a teensy bit of a self-parody) But some of the plot were a bit big. This one is worth checking out on cable, or a Netflix rental.
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9/10
A brilliant piece of formula film-making
thomasandhisvan18 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
To my mind this is a brilliant formula picture. It employs all the language and visual iconography of contemporary world history and political subterfuge - threats to east-west 'detente'; international treaties; renegade generals and shadow armies; assassination attempts (complete with Oswald-type patsies); and lone heroes intent on exposing the truth - and assembles them into a coherent and gripping thriller that balances action and tension in suitable measure.

Gene Hackman plays army Sergeant Gallagher, stationed in Berlin but ordered to escort a human 'package' (Tommy Lee Jones) back to Washington. After his prisoner's escape soon after their arrival back in the US, Gallagher begins to suspect that all is not as it seems, as the world awaits the signing of an historic agreement between the superpowers to put nuclear weapons beyond use. Realising that the threat to the peace process resides in the very organisations charged with implementing its aims - and to which he is supposed to report - and that his life is now in jeopardy, Gallagher begins to investigate, aided only by his estranged wife (played by Joanna Cassidy) and former Vietnam buddy-turned-Chicago cop Milan (Dennis Franz).

And it is in the windy city where the bulk of the action now plays out. This being director Andrew Davis' usual turf, it is no surprise that the wintry locations have a particularly authentic feel, adding to the film's steely atmosphere. The picture is perfectly paced for the viewer's excitement. In fact, it might have benefited from one or two slightly longer breathers between bursts of kinetic excitement. Other minor quibbles are the limited role afforded to women (even the fairly feisty Cassidy is quickly heard apologising for the quality of her scrambled eggs) and Hackman is, at this point in his career (1989, when the film was released) approaching a point where he may have to accept that his action heroics are almost behind him.

Nevertheless, this is exciting, intelligent, familiar stuff - which is a tough combination to pull off, yet one done expertly here.
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4/10
A candy bar?.....
FlashCallahan8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Johnny Gallagher 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.

Their aim is to kill a very high-ranking world figure in order to sabotage arms control talks....

For a film directed by a seasoned action auteur, and staring behemoths like Hackman and Jones, the film is really boring and mundane in places.

Made in a time when film makers thought that audiences would be enthralled by stuffy men in rooms talking a lot, a lot of the cast are wasted, and the action scenes are just a montage of men with moustaches chasing Hackman and co.

Hackman and Jones are great though, and when they share the screen, the film blisters in entertainment, but it isn't long enough.

The last ten minutes are interesting and Davis does an amazing job of the climax, but we have to trawl through a mundane set up before the end.

A waste.
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6/10
A VERY COMPLEX POLIT THRILLER
Luigi Di Pilla19 October 2002
It´s the second time that I watched it on DVD and at the end I have still some open questions. This movie takes especially in the first third your full attention. The story is a good idea but there are some scenes that are turned too quickly. Perhaps there are too many characters in the movie that plays all an important key role. All in all it´s an entertaining film but enjoy it only when you are not too tired. For these reasons I gave 6/10.
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5/10
Not very satisfying.
gridoon23 July 2000
Convoluted conspiracy thriller, in the tradition of "Day of the Jackal": it focuses too much on its plot and not enough on its characters. A couple of well-done action sequences occasionally inject some life into the picture, but it never becomes fully involving - and leads to a quick, anticlimactic ending which doesn't reward us for our patience.
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10/10
The Package!
Movie Nuttball28 August 2003
The Package is one of Andrew Davis' finest films! Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones were really good. I liked the charisma Hackman and Joanna Cassidy had together! The music by James Newton Howard is good. The action is top notch. There are so many cast members that was in Andrew's other films in the package and if you are a big fan of Davis's other movies then I'm sure you know who they are! If you want to see another winner by Andrew Davis that stars Gene Hackman and Tommy Lee Jones then check out the Package!
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10/10
patsy
kairingler8 July 2013
boy how I really love this film,, first off Gene Hackman gives a performance worthy of an Oscar, Tommy Lee Jones was great in this movie,, Dennis Franz was great to , and Pam Grier had a small role in here to. this movie is set in the Cold War, the tail end of it, and Hackman is assigned to bring in a man on some petty violation of sorts. turns out the man isn't who he's supposed to be, the man Hackman is supposed to be escorting back to Germany is already dead. he get's assaulted in the bathroom and the prisoner escapes. so this is basically the beginning to a political assassination,, it takes awhile to get there, and may move slower in spots. but round halfway this movie cranks up the action and doesn't let go,, kinda like a modern day Kennedy assassination thing going on here, with the term "patsy" and all of the political propaganda going around.. everyone who worked on this film deserves much praise, for this is really a great movie,, not a classic, but way better than most of the stuff that comes out of Hollywood these days.
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6/10
Good Beginning, Predictable Ending
treeskier80227 May 2011
For about the first half of this movie, the story was very gripping. Tommy Lee Jones and Gene Hackman are both on top of their game. However, once Hackman and Cassidy's characters get to Chicago the film starts to drag and the ending gets predictable. Cassidy's character who started out interesting and intellingent doesn't get anything interesting to do toward the end of the film. The concept, an 80s version of the Kennedy Assisination with a twist is solid, but the movie just runs out of steam. If you like spy thrillers or the Kennedy conspiracies, you may find this movie somewhat entertaining. If you pass on watching this, you aren't really missing much either. Rating 6 of 10 stars.
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6/10
Not bad filming, and Hackman is terrific, but a painful screenplay
secondtake19 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Package (1989)

Well, if you can get past the first half hour you're past the worst of this up and down thriller. It's never brilliant, but the scenes in the U.S. (Chicago and Washington) are more convincing than the East Berlin stuff, which has only some nice location shooting to recommend it. Later on there are car chases that are fun, and more nice location shooting, and even some very convincingly boring political speeches (brief). At its best, there is tension and surprise, but not often enough even of that.

Many of the minor actors simply can't hold up the very weak script. The exception? Gene Hackman, his usual brilliant, subtle, convincing self. It's very much a one man show, but a tough act even for him with the forced plot, the forced turn of events, the hyped up events, and the plain old bad lines now and then. Just to be clear this is high stakes stuff, there are Commies, neo-Nazis, corrupt cops, corrupt servicemen, an intrigue against the president, protests against disarmament (a timely issue 1989) and lots of old and new friendships tested and questionable. It's a lot for any movie, and too much for a clumsily written one, which this is.

There is Tommi Lee Jones to be reckoned with, also convincing, but with a small sporadic part. The music by James Newton Howard is pushy at first (to the point of annoying) but settles in to a professional gait that really works. The filming is quite good if not exceptional, and edited pretty well. Some of you might like all of this a lot, but overall there's just that issue of corny and exaggerated lines which will sometimes make you cringe. And the painfully cliffhanger ending? It's what must happen in this kind of formula movie.

Director Andrew Davis gives a preview, in a way, of that chase and intrigue film he would direct to great success a few years later, "The Fugitive," a better movie in every way. Watch this with that in mind for something to do.
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7/10
A neat one
robert-temple-16 January 2012
This is a taut political thriller about the Cold War made and released just at the last moment, in 1989, after which these stories became passé. Gene Hackman plays a U.S. Army sergeant who becomes enmeshed in an international political and military conspiracy to prevent a peace treaty between the USA and the Soviet Union, and he and his wife, a U.S. Army Lieutenant-Colonel (played by Joanna Cassidy), have to run for their lives. On the one hand, they are trying to solve the conspiracy, but on the other hand they are trying to dodge all the nasty assassins who want to kill them. The film is well directed by Andrew Davis, who has directed numerous thriller and action films, such as the remake of the old TV series, the Harrison Ford version of THE FUGITIVE (1993). John Heard is icy cold as a scheming colonel who really works for the CIA. There is much attention given in this film to the CIA special ops people who are 'plants' inside the police, inside the Army, deeply throated and everywhere. Tommy Lee Jones plays the action villain, an expert sniper who doesn't care whom he kills as long as the pay is good. Dennis Franz plays Hackman's old chum from the Chicago Police who helps try to solve the conspiracy. The film is mostly set in Chicago, and the plan is to assassinate both the American president and the Russian leader who looks like Gorbachev. It is a nail-biting thriller, just the thing not to help you relax.
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4/10
Poor depiction of U.S. military
rodhackenflasch10 August 2019
Typical Hollywood depiction of the U.S. military. The dress uniforms aren't fit properly nor are they worn correctly. Ribbons aren't in proper order, insignias are crooked, and the troops do not have regulation haircuts - especially the ridiculous haircut on actor Joe Greco who lays a General no less. That hair looks hideous - military or not. The Russians and East Germans look a hell of a lot better.
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