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Review: With 'The Package,' Dolph Lundgren grows ever hipper

He again makes the most of a small role, elevating the film starring Steve Austin in the process.

February 15, 2013|By Mark Olsen
  • Steve Austin in "The Package."
Steve Austin in "The Package." (Ed Araquel / Anchor Bay Entertainment )

Seriously, y'all, let's try to settle this: When did Dolph Lundgren become so cool?

In the last few years, he has gone from some sort of where-are-they-now punch line to the B-grade action movie's answer to Cary Grant. Forget how he looks with a rocket launcher, have you seen him rock a pocket square? After having come across as the suave one amid the hard-core macho puffery of the "Expendables" pictures as well as diving into the psychotropic madness of "Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning," with "The Package," Lundgren continues his recent streak of making the most of small roles, elevating each movie in the process.

As a small-time enforcer hustling hard to pay back his brother's debts, Steve Austin gets more screen time, powering through his share of groan-inducing one-liners and using the blunt "How about losing the towel?" to seduce a freshly showered lady friend. Lundgren, on the other hand, transforms a scene in which he simultaneously makes a fruit smoothie and kills a guy into something almost sweetly domestic.

Directed by Jesse V. Johnson from a script by Derek Kolstad, "The Package" is a relentlessly straightforward story in which Austin is tasked with delivering a mysterious package to crime boss Lundgren, with others fighting to intercept it. Notwithstanding the strange scene in which a female villain is revealed to have been a sadistic military interrogator — "I did it for fun," she says — to somehow clear a path to Austin beating on her, "The Package" is uncomplicated guy's guy movie time, the screen version of the starchy passing pleasures of bar food.

—Mark Olsen

"The Package." MPAA rating: R for strong violence throughout. Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes. At Laemmle's Noho 7, North Hollywood.

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