This film, directed by Kevin Hooks and released in 1992, was the vehicle that solidified Wesley Snipes' career as an action hero.
An infamous terrorist named Charles Rane (Bruce Payne) has evaded capture for a long time by being extremely clever and ruthless. Rane hijacks a commercial airline plane with a security specialist on board named John Cutter (Snipes). Now Cutter must fight back and stop Charles's "Rane of terror" amongst the passengers.
This film provides examples of:
- Action Hero: Cutter really doesn't want to be, but events force him to take out most of Rane's men by himself.
- Berserk Button: Mentioning Rane's childhood.
- Big Bad: Charles Rane, the English mercenary terrorist.
- "Die Hard" on an X: Die Hard on a plane! This is the one that didn't have Harrison Ford...or Nicolas Cage...or Kurt Russell.
- Disney Villain Death: Cutter kicks Rane out of a plane in mid-flight.
- One of Rane's mooks is also killed this way at the fairground when Cutter tosses him off the top of a ferris wheel.
- Evil Brit: Rane is an English terrorist-for-hire.
- Finger Gun: While imprisoned, Rane notices a child doing this. He proceeds to do it back, revealing his handcuffs and scaring the child half to death.
- Freudian Excuse: Rane had an abusive father, who he mentions died a violent death.
- Hannibal Lecture: Rane is quite skilled at delivering these, browbeating various law enforcement-types and taunting Cutter over his inability to prevent the deaths of the hostages he kills.
- I Know Karate: Cutter, of course. He uses it to good effect against Vincent and Rane.
- Knight In Sour Armor: Cutter is very bitter and testy after his wife's death.
- Lack of Empathy: Rane, big time. He thinks nothing of shooting hostages, even if they have families, and at one point even menaces his own lawyer.
- Large Ham: Rane again. Bruce Payne delivers every line as though he's playing a snake.
- Made of Explodium: When the terrorists reboard the plane, the mobile gangway collapses and bursts into flames.
- Made of Iron: Rane no-sells several shots to the crotch during his final fight with Cutter.
- Madness Mantra: Charles Rane is not insane.
- Mistaken for Terrorist: Cutter is at first, thanks to Rane fooling the police into thinking he worked for him.
- My Greatest Failure: Cutter's wife being blown away by some random armed store thief that killed her out of spite when Cutter couldn't get the drop on him fast enough and tried to negotiate. As a result, Cutter is far less inclined to be a hero during the present-day.
- Never Say That Again: Rane thanks his lawyer for his legal advice of pleading temporary insanity by brutally thrashing him, putting him in a painful hold, and whispering "Repeat after me: Charles Rane is not insane."
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Cutter delivers one of these to Vincent, Rane's knife-wielding henchman.
- Psycho for Hire: Rane is a terrorist-for-hire who takes great pleasure in tormenting and killing innocent people.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Rane is very flat and deadpan throughout the film, only raising his voice once or twice.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Cutter's wife was killed in convenience store robbery shown via flashback.
- Terrorists Without a Cause: Charles Rane is a mercenary, paid to commit terrorist attacks on behalf of others. He doesn't seem to believe in any cause, but does take a certain pride in his crimes.
- Unwinnable Training Simulation: Cutter's Establishing Character Moment involves him being part of a hostage drill for trainee stewardesses that has him getting angry at the stewardess' attempt at negotiating for a passenger's life using the standard methods told to her and "killing" the hostage out of sheer spite. This act of savage trolling makes more sense when it turns out that this happened to him in the past. One of the other trainers even tells Cutter that he's being extremely harsh on the trainees and he should take some time off.
- Wrong Name Outburst: Cutter accidentally addresses Marti as "Lisa" in a heated moment. "Lisa" is actually Cutter's dead wife, killed in a convenience store robbery.