The film begins with a SWAT team going into the house of a United States Senator. Someone is holding the Senator hostage. The bomb squad arrives in a helicopter and they rappel down into the house. Frank Glass (Seagal) is in charge of the bomb squad. Glass finds a bomb in the basement and works to disarm it while the SWAT team is in a shootout with some of the hostage takers.
Glass disarms the bomb but he thinks it was too easy, that it was designed to mislead him into thinking he had he disarmed it. Everyone is ordered out of the house. The elaborate bomb is shown just before it explodes.
A year later, in San Francisco, two narcotics cops—Ray Nettles (Sizemore) and his partner Art "Fuzzy" Rice (Nas) are driving around talking. Nettles's wife and son were killed by a bomb and ever since then he has lost his enthusiasm for his job, hygiene, and life in general. Fuzzy has been trying to cheer Nettles up, and "talk out his demons". They stumble upon something suspicious and decide to investigate, ending up in an apartment building arresting a suspect. They then go to a warehouse where Nettles runs into a scientist named Claire Manning (Pressly), and Fuzzy is fatally shot by Swan (Hopper), the IRA-connected terrorist who bombed the Senator's house. Nettles and Swan have a stand-off until Swan and his men just leave. Nettles arrests Claire but she refuses to say anything about Swan. She is wearing an odd-looking bracelet which Nettles takes to the bomb squad for Glass to look over. The bracelet is found to contain detonation cord and Semtex explosive.