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Review: With ‘The Package,’ Dolph Lundgren grows ever hipper

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.

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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

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“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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