Former Olympic gymnast-turned-daredevil skydiver Ditch Brodie (Sheen), owner of a jump school, is approached by a beautiful but nervous woman named Chris Morrow (Kinski), whom insists on performing a static jump from cruising altitude immediately. Playing along due to her flirtatious attitude, Ditch agrees to take her despite claims that she has never skydived before. During the flight over, a confusing incident ends with Chris leaping out on her own, and despite Ditch's best attempts, he's unable to save her before she hits the ground at terminal velocity. An investigation ensues, and the school is closed down indefinitely.
Ditch feels guilty by her death, but nonetheless confused by the circumstances surrounding it, so when he finds evidence contradicting Chris' claims, and he's attacked by the mysterious Kerr (McDonald), he finds himself not only looking to clear his name, but also to survive, while finding allies and enemies in the least-expected places.
This film provides examples of:
- Clear My Name: Ditch has to clear his name after being accused of manslaughter for Chris' death in confusing circumstances. Chris ends up helping him after revealing that she had faked her death.
- Disney Villain Death: On the falling car, Ditch manages to fight off Kerr, which results in this for him.
- Faking the Dead: After seemingly dying in a fall, it's later revealed that Chris was alive and well, havng faked her death to throw off the men behind her.
- Helicopter Blender: Ditch ends up making Pinkwater get sucked onto a wind generator by pulling his back-up chute. We don't get to see the blending, but the next scene shows one of the blades with blood on it, implying it killed him. The blade has no damage whatsoever, despite the rather muscular human that slammed on it.
- It's Raining Men: Well, it is a movie about skydiving, so lots of people falling from the sky, at great height, then landing safely are seen.
- The Precious, Precious Car: In the climax, Kerr's car gets driven out of a plane. And Kerr leaps out after it. It does not go well for him.
- Renegade Russian: It's revealed by Chris that she and her pursuers are former KGB operatives left unemployed due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, and that the men have fallen in with the Russian mob, hijacked a massive shipment of gold bullion intended for the Moscow reserve, and are intending to use it to finance a coup d'état against the democratic Russian government.
- Terminology Title: The films takes its title from the name given to the maximum speed a falling object can attain, something that certainly comes a lot in skydiving.