Executive Decision is an American action thriller film based on the 1996 film of the same name which starred Kurt Russell.
Lieutenant Colonel Austin Travers leads a raid a mafia house which is the secret hideout of feared terrorist El Sayed Jaffa. After a shootout and the death of one of his own men, Travers captures Jaffa. Afterwards, he sits alone and questions his methods, contemplating the death of his soldier.
Atlantic International Flight 343 departs from Athens, Greece, with a destination of Washington DC. Suddenly, mid-flight, several men reveal themselves as being heavily armed and they take control of the plane. The ring leader is Naji Hassan, who was Jaffa's lieutenant.
Dr. David Grant, a US Army consultant and student pilot, is summoned to the Pentagon to join a team led by Travers who plan to intercept the plane and retake it. After listening to Hassan's request that Jaffa be released, Grant begins to suspect that this is a pre-planned attack, even going as far as to suggest that Hassan arranged for Jaffa to be captured in order to carry it out.
Grant, Travers, and their team, consisting of engineer Dennis Cahill, Carlos 'Rat' Lopez, Campbell 'Cappy' Matheny, Louie Jung and Michael Baker, board a Remora which brings them to the airliner. During the transfer using an experimental sleeve, Cappy is knocked out before Travers can climb on board and the sleeve begins to tear. Grant tries to help Travers, but Travers stubbornly refuses and wishes Grant luck before slamming the hatch shut and falling to his death.
On the ground, authorities hoping to resolve the situation arrange for Jaffa to be released. On board the plane, Cappy and Cahill locate Hassan's true motives; a stolen Russian nerve agent, DZ-5, bomb, which Hassan plans to detonate over Washington. Grant first contacts flight attendant Jean and convinces her to subtly help them locate the remote detonator. He then contacts the officials on the ground and tries to halt Jaffa's release, explaining that Hassan has even more sinister intentions. However, Jaffa's plane has already departed.
From his plane, Jaffa calls Hassan and informs him of his release. When one of his men asks if their mission is complete, Hassan kills them. Grant realises that Hassan's men do not know of his plan to attack the capital. This also means there is a sleeper on board; one of the 400 passengers is the triggerman. When it is announced that the small plane is going to turn around, Jaffa tries to take control of it and crashes, killing him.
As the Pentagon now knows of the deadly gas, it comes down to the President to make an executive decision; whether or not to shoot down the plane. With reluctance and under pressure, the President allows for a small stealth squadron to take flight with the intention to shoot down Flight 343.
Jean begins to suspect one man as being the triggerman, and informs Grant. Using morse code via the plane's tail lights, the team informs the jets that they are still on board and not to take them down. With time running out, Grant has Jean bring him to the cabin, where they attack the man she suspected. They tear open his briefcase but find no detonator, and also incite chaos in the cabin. Grant recognizes one of the passengers as Jean-Paul Demou, a Facist who designed the bioweapon. The rest of the squad, knowing that it's now or never, kill the lights in the cabin and storm it. One of the windows is shot out, sucking Demou out of the cabin to his death. The remaining terrorists are killed and Hassan is wounded. He stumbles into the cockpit, and in one final, desperate act, murders the pilots and is then gunned down by Rat. Cahill and Cappy, meanwhile, disarm the bomb.
The plane enters a steep nose dive, but Grant takes the control and manages to regain stability. As a near miss first attempt, Grant manages to land safely at Dulles International Airport. He and Jean are shown to have developed somewhat romantic feelings for each other as the authorities evacuate the remaining passengers.
Bradley Cooper - Dr. David Grant
Zoe Saldana - Jean
Mel Gibson - Austin Travers
Mark Consuelos - Carlos 'Rat' Lopez
Chris Tucker - Campbell 'Cappy' Matheny
Tabandobu Asano - Louie Jung
William Baldwin - Michael Baker
Michael Wincott - Naji Hassan
Tim Curry - El Sayed Jaffa