The Package Review

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A screwed-over military policeman uncovers an international murder plot after his prisoner, 'The Package', gives him the slip in the lavvy.

The release of this political thriller was somewhat usurped by events in Germany and the Soviet Union as the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, but still emerges as a reasonably gripping, if outdated, yarn, with baddies drawn from "to hell with glasnost" hawks in the upper echelons of the US and Soviet militaries.

When an American general is killed at a Berlin summit, Gene Hackman's Sgt. Johnny Gallagher, the military cop in charge of security, is in disgrace and sent back Stateside as escort to a court-martialled GI (the "package"). The prisoner Henke (Tommy Lee Jones) is not what he appears, Gallagher is attacked and the package takes off on his assignment - an assassination that will stop the US Pres. and an unnamed but Gorby-like Soviet leader from inking an historic nuclear pact.

Hindered by his superiors, helped by his gutsy ex-wife (Joanna Cassidy), framed and on the run, Gallagher is embroiled in the usual nightmare of conspiracy, murder and proliferating villains. One needs to keep on one's toes to keep up with the sinister doings, but the "lone man against the odds" stuff clings to some semblance of credibility with good performances from all the principals and some tough action, though with the benefit of hindsight, best taken with a pinch of salt.

Showcasing the sort of convoluted political plot one might expect from the Cold War action genre, Hackman is nonetheless our man on the frontline fighting for truth. A couple of good action sequences, though if you weren't around at the time, you might wonder what all the fuss was about