Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) is an imprisoned criminal, whose childhood brain trauma left him with an inability to feel emotions or control his impulses. However, he's freed from custody when CIA agent Bill Pope is killed in action, and the CIA needs to find assets that he hid, pre-mortem. Jericho is to be the subject of a CIA experiment, to graft Pope's brainwaves onto his own.
This film contains examples of:
- Adult Fear: A stranger coming in your bedroom, restraining you, and then going into your daughter's room, with of course the fear that he'll rape you both. Luckily it turns out he just wants money.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Xavier Heimdahl, who's trying to obtain the Wormhole program, which will give him control of the US's nuclear arsenal to destroy every government in the world.
- Electric Torture: What Xavier uses on Bill.
- Happily Married: Bill and Jill.
- HeelFace Turn: Jericho makes his complete turn when he's told Jill and Emma's lives aren't important. His response?Jericho: They're important to me.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Bill/Jericho has The Dutchman fix the Wormhole program so that any missile Xavier fired would turn back and target him instead.
- I Have Your Wife: Xavier forces Bill/Jericho to give him the Wormhole program by holding Jill and Emma hostage.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Bill gets tortured with a cattle prod by Xavier, then killed after he refused to give up The Dutchman.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Jericho does this first to the guys whose van he steals, and later Elsa, beating her to death.
- The Sociopath: Jericho, due to brain damage suffered as a child. He doesn't feel hate, love and empathy, leading him to commit a long string of senseless crimes. By the time he gets used as a guinea pig in the film's experiment, he's spent most of his life in prison.
- Transferable Memory: An experimental procedure is used to put deceased CIA agent Bill Pope's memories into the brain of sociopathic convict Jericho Stewart.