In this action thriller, a group of Islamic terrorists, led by Nagi Hassan (David Suchet), highjacks a 747 jetliner with 400 passengers aboard, but Lt. Col. Austin Travis (Steven Seagal), a United States intelligence agent, is convinced that this isn't an ordinary case of air piracy. His suspicions are soon confirmed; Hassan's men have obtained a large cache of stolen Soviet nerve gas, and they are using the 747 to smuggle the deadly gas into the United States, where they intend to use it to wipe out Washington D.C. and possibly the entire East Coast. As the jet approaches the U. S., engineer Dennis Cahill (Oliver Platt) designs a plan in which a military plane will be able to transfer U.S. soldiers onto the 747 and regain control of the plane and its deadly cargo. However, when Travis dies in the course of the mission, intelligence agent Dr. David Grant (Kurt Russell) is forced to take his place alongside explosives expert Cappy (Joe Morton), commando Rat (John Leguizamo), and stewardess-turned-anti-terrorist Jean (Halle Berry). Executive Decision was the first directorial assignment for veteran film editor Stuart Baird; he cut the film as well.