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Ben Nagy reviews ‘The Package’: Stone Cold tries to deliver; Dolph pontificates on food

I haven’t written a review for a while.

I didn’t write any snow-horror flick reviews in January.

I was incommunicado during Kung Fu-bruary, even with the extra Leap Day.

I watched a flick (I have witnesses), but then didn’t get around to writing a review to celebrate Henry Rollins Day.

Now we’re more than half-way through Women’s History Month, but because we just had 3:16 Day, I have to do a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin movie first this week, then the next two reviews will be kung-fu flicks that have women kicking hiney.

Why have things been so quiet?

Well, you see, right after helping out at the Jamboree in October, this big old fight with some greedy land developers started right where I live. So I was in the process of mobilizing people in opposition. Problem is, the challenge got rejected on a technicality. Therefore, I did not get to the final stage of organizing a protest outside the municipal building involving senior citizens in colorful outfits break-dancing while the greedy developer and his attorney lackey looked on seethingly. I had signs made up and everything. John Cougar Mellencamp was right in that one song about fighting authority.

With all that happening, I’ve also neglected another important thing.

It’s time to plan for the ECLIPSE.

It’s going to get dark for four minutes or thereabouts at 3 p.m. April 8 a couple of weeks from now in Cleveburg. Sales of cheap cardboard glasses with tinted lenses have been going through the roof. The Ohio governor is declaring that everybody in the state ought to have an action plan. In response, the Highway Patrol is going to increase its visibility by dressing up in reflective disco outfits and carrying industrial-sized laser pointers. About 47 billion people are going to come to Lorain County, Ohio, and the resultant influx of people is going to cripple our infrastructure, cause mass chaos and basically be a recreation of the locust scene from Exorcist 2, except it’ll be people coming from out of town in cardboard glasses wanting to see the lights go out rather than marauding bugs and when they enter and leave a gas station, all the 20-ounce drinks, chips, beef jerkies and Little Trees air fresheners are going to be GONE.

County leadership has told people that they ought to stock up on three days’ worth of Spam, oat bran, tapioca pudding, bottled water, supplies and guzzoline. (Not gasoline, because in a “Mad Max”-style scenario, you have to pronounce it that way, otherwise you get in trouble with George Miller AND the entire continent of Australia. There have been long meetings about this).

Already there’s been a shortage on spiked shoulder pads around these parts. Safety’s not guaranteed.

So that’s why I’ve not written any reviews in a while. Normally it would land me in super hot water (especially for missing Kung Fu-bruary), except for the fact that I was able to make Joe Bob understand that during this once-in-400-years event (even though the last total eclipse took place four years ago) lots of weird things could happen and that preparedness for my household was essential. 

Proof to support my position was a 1977 issue of a Marvel comic with Man-Wolf in it where the power of an eclipse turned some people into Super Werewolves that Man-Wolf had to fight. With the 47 billion people coming into my county, I told Joe Bob that there will be at least four or five Super Werewolves among them, so I had to be prepared as best I could for the sake of my wife and kids.

That seemed reasonable to him, and so here we are…

One person probably more prepared for any Super Werewolf onslaught than I am would be British director Jesse V. Johnson, who, if not the king of directing drive-in action flicks these days, has ascended to high dukedom. 

As shown by his work with Scott Adkins and Dolph Lundgren, Johnson knows to always make sure his movie is never boring. Picking up any of the movies he’s made pretty much guarantees a two-star experience, which translates into a drive-in flick that you wouldn’t be ashamed of having a gang of Mutants over to check out.

This week’s flick, The Package, is no exception. It’s one of those where you have one top star (“Stone Cold” Steve Austin) as the good guy and another top star (Dolph Lundgren) as the other guy and they’re kept away from one another until the big payoff at the end where maybe they’re gonna team up or maybe they’re going to fight one another. It’s a smart and practical way to construct a film when wrestling with a limited schedule and budget — there’s no guarantee that you’ll have the means to have both your top draws available at all times at schedules that coincide.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin wears a suit and gives his partner some side eye in “The Package.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)
”Stone Cold” Steve Austin gives his partner side eye and wears a suit as Tommy Wick (no lie) in 2012’s “The Package” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

In this one, Stone Cold plays Tommy, a heavy in a guy named Big Doug’s employ who dresses up in suits when he has to and mostly deals in debt collections. He also has a little brother who is locked up in jail and who owes Big Doug money.

Dolph Lundgren as the culinarily educated “German” wears a bathrobe and gives “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s stunt double a front kick to the chest in “The Package.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)
Dolph Lundgren as the culinarily educated “German” wears a bathrobe and gives “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s stunt double a front kick to the chest in “The Package.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

Meanwhile, Dolph’s character “The German” is not really bad — he and Stone Cold’s character just had some sort of falling out way back when because of protocol or something. Dolph just goes about getting the things he wants the wrong way and mumbles in his Ivan Drago voice about 35% of the time when dealing with other crime bosses.

Dolph needs a package delivered to him, Stone Cold’s doing the delivering and there’s a rival gang that wants whatever is in the package (it’s funny when we learn what it really is). Some other stuff to look for:

Ben's Bloody Best

Best Collection Strategy: Stone Cold and his partner shake down this guy Luis Ramirez at a bowling alley in the opening scene by putting Louie’s head on the ball return so he’s more motivated to pay up.

Best Role Model of Motorcycle Safety: Stone Cold wears a helmet.

Best Likelihood of a Friendship With Gordon Ramsay: The German is ALWAYS eating and pontificates at length regarding the correct composition of a power smoothie and a martini. Highly recommended that you take notes when Dolph goes into recipe recital mode!

Best Focus on the Task at Hand: When Stone Cold gets into a fight with this henchguy in the snow out in this alley, there are two people on a scaffold working on a welding project while the fight is going on just for the express purpose for having some ambient sparks in the background. These welders keep welding until the fight’s over and two other people ambush Stone Cold and then Taser him.

Second-best Focus on the Task at Hand: There’s this one background guy who has to stand for three minutes with a coffee delivery while this gangster leader who looks more like a middle-management IT professional whines about something on the phone.

Torture expert Monique (Monique Ganderton) gets ready to work on Tommy Wick (“Stone Cold” Steve Austin in 2012’s “The Package.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)
Torture expert Monique (Monique Ganderton) gets ready to work on Tommy Wick (“Stone Cold” Steve Austin in 2012’s “The Package.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

Best Motivation for Revenge: Her fiance gets killed by Stone Cold while they fought in a storage room and so torture expert Monique (Monique Ganderton, The Hunted, Bad Meat) gets him strapped to a chair and tries to work him over.

Best Need for Increased Target Range Practice: Monique was a lousy shot.

Best Reason to Donate Blood: It helps save lives. It’s a key plot point in this one, which you don’t see much outside of vampire flicks.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin as Tommy Wick (no lie) waves around a big gun in “The Package.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin as Tommy Wick (no lie) waves around a big gun in “The Package.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

One fun fact: according to the credits, Stone Cold’s character’s full name is Tommy Wick. The Package came out in 2012 — two years before Keanu’s franchise got off the ground. In theory, Stone Cold could be John’s bald, goateed older brother from up in Seattle.

Too much of a stretch? Think it’s crazy talk? Well, the guy who wrote The Package is none other than Derek Kolstad, who wrote a script that started a little franchise called, oh, John Wick.

The stealth John Wick prequel gets three stars. Check it out on TubiTV, Freevee or the other usual streaming suspects. It’s also out there on physical media.

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