Chief Petty Officer Casey Ryback
A former Navy SEAL demoted to a cook for striking a superior officer who winds up being the only crew member not to be captured by the terrorists.
- Action Hero: He's the protagonist in a "Die Hard" on an X scenario, so this is a given. Not to mention being played by Steven Seagal.
- Chef of Iron: He may have been demoted to a cook, but he's remembered his Navy SEAL training. He's as good at cutting throats as he is cutting onions.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has quite a few witty quips:Tate: Why do I have to carry all the bags?Ryback: Listen, I'll carry all the bags if you kill everyone we run into.
- Real Men Cook: After being demoted, he takes a job as a cook on the USS Missouri. In the sequel, he even owns his own restaurant.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: After a disastrous mission, he was restricted to hold one of two ratings: Yeoman or Cook.
A Playmate hired as entertainment for the party who falls asleep and inadvertently evades capture.
- Ms. Fanservice: Her most well-remembered scene in the film is the one where she pops out of a cake and takes her top off.
- Plucky Comic Relief: She provides most of the laughs in the film. Well, all the laughs that Strannix and Krill don't provide, anyway.
- Satellite Love Interest: She ends up with Ryback at the end of the film, but their relationship isn't focused on much in the film.
Captain JT Adams
The captain of the Missouri.
Ryback's assistant cook.
A naive rookie who is forced to help Ryback during the fight to reclaim the Missouri.
A CIA agent gone rogue who seized control of the Missouri.
- Ax-Crazy: Strannix is utterly insane, though he's definitely not in the same league as Krill, and at least tries to be professional for most of the film.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has a dry wit and a habit of making snarky remarks.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Courtesy of Tommy Lee Jones's naturally deep voice.
- Evil Is Hammy: He chews scenery like it's popcorn, and his rants have to be seen to be believed.
- FaceHeel Turn: He used to be a good guy until the pressure of his job and ungrateful superiors caused him to go crazy.
- Fallen Hero: Strannix was a heroic CIA agent who is implied to have stopped countless dangerous scenarios before the pressure and ungrateful superiors caused him to snap.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's pretty jovial and affable for a ruthless terrorist before his Villainous Breakdown.
- Genre Savvy: He expertly avoids grabbing onto the Villain Ball, and treats Ryback as a serious threat the second he discovers him.
- Large Ham: Tommy Lee Jones clearly has a blast playing him.
- Laughably Evil: Strannix's hamminess and quips make him utterly hilarious.
- Rogue Agent: A CIA agent gone rogue and has since become a terrorist.
- Villainous Breakdown: He has a bad one that results in him trying to destroy Hawaii out of spite.
Commander Peter Krill
The unhinged XO of the Missouri, who has partnered up with Strannix to get revenge for his career being stalled by his mental instability.
- Ax-Crazy: He isn't exactly the most stable guy around.
- Evil Is Hammy: It's Gary Busey, what did you expect?
- Evil Is Petty: Krill betrays the Missouri to Strannix because he was angry over his mental instability stalling his career.
- Karmic Death: He's killed by the guns of the ship he betrayed.
- Klingon Promotion: He invokes this after the death of Captain Adams upon discovering his own performance evaluation. For the remainder of the film, he wears Adams' eagles in place of his own silver Oak leaves.
- Large Ham: Again, it's Gary Busey. Did you expect any less?
- The Mole: He was this among the crew before the takeover.
- Villainous Crossdresser: He turns up at the Captain's party in drag. There's a reason for this, though: It serves to draw suspicion away from him as The Mole until it's too late.
Strannix's right-hand man.
- The Brute: He serves as the muscle for Strannix and Krill.
Another of Strannix's henchmen.
Strannix's tech expert.
- Evil Genius: He's the one controlling the Missouri's weapons systems.
A high ranking member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's the one who's responsible for coordinating the U.S. military's efforts against Strannix, and he's pretty good at his job. He also gives Ryback his utmost support throughout the film.
Captain Nick Garza
A Navy SEAL and former colleague of Ryback's.