The crew assembles after dark in a bistro in Paris and drives to a warehouse. Spence asks Sam if he ever killed anyone. He replies that he once hurt someone’s feelings. Deirdre says they must attain a valuable silver briefcase from people intent on preventing them. It’s protected by a small group of between five to eight men — driving two to three cars. Deirdre wants these cars ambushed. When asked, Deirdre says they’re very well armed, very unpleasant men. Larry requests an Audi S8 from Vincent, who agrees to quickly get one.
Sam wants more details on the escape route, after the ambush. Spence asks if he’s saving his own skin. Sam says he is, it covers his body. Sam asks Vincent for simulators — gunpowder sound, but no lead. Sam spills coffee as he pours. He knocks a cup off the table and Gregor catches the falling cup. Sam comments on Gregor’s good reflexes.
Spence is boasting how he was taught to hold out indefinitely under torture. Sam says everyone has a limit. Larry asks how they finally got to Sam. Sam says the grasshopper, then lists the ingredients of the cocktail.
At the meet, Spence asks Vincent for some of the money, then walks towards the other car. Sam tells Vincent to stay close to their guy. If there’s a sniper, he’ll not want to shoot his own. As Larry starts loading the first half of the money, Sam spots a sniper in the bridge.
During the gunfight, Spence keeps yelling. Afterwards, the police arrive and it’s established nobody’s hurt. In the more powerful car, Larry outpaces and outmanoeuvres the police. Vincent thanks Sam for saving his life.
Deirdre tells the others it’s going to be an ambush. Sam wants details of the case. Is it heavy? Explosive? Chained to someone’s wrist? He now wants $100,000 upfront and in a bank account, then another $100,000 when he gives her the case. Deirdre calls her superiors in response.
When Spence demonstrates an ignorance of ambushes, Sam attacks him and holds him over a forty foot drop. With more money each for the remaining men, Spence is paid off and sworn to silence.
Sam suggests he and Dierdre go shopping - with Deirdre acting as his wife. They see the principal holding the case. Sam cleverly takes many clandestine photos of the principal and entourage. Sam then arranges a diverting distraction that reveals the level of emergency protection.
Back at base, Sam wants two more men. Deirdre says no - and that they should stick to the plan. Gregor’s impatient, but Sam wants to wait. Deirdre says it’ll happen tomorrow at the earliest.
On the day, Deirdre signals that the convoy is passing her. In the car with Vincent, Sam prepares his bazooka. Vincent turns the traffic lights red. Sam then destroys one of the cars. Vincent triggers a simulator mimicking gunfire.
The men fire at Vincent and Sam, then drive off. Sam fires his bazooka out the sunroof and another of the bad guys’ cars explodes. Larry sees the car from where he’s waiting, chases and takes out another of the cars.
The principal’s car is now the only one remaining and Larry rams it repeatedly. They chase through the narrow streets of Nice, with Gregor navigating Larry through his earpiece. Larry soon rams the principal to a halt.
Larry immediately starts shooting at the principal in his car. Gregor and Deirdre also arrive and start shooting. Gregor kills the principal and busts the man’s handcuffs off, with police sirens sounding. Sam notices silver paint rubbing off the case and knows it’s been switched. He throws it away where it can explode safely. Sam tells Vincent Gregor double-crossed them.
Later, Gregor collects a Russian buyer from a café. In the case he’s given, there’s only strips of paper. The Russian now has Gregor at gunpoint. Gregor lurches the car forwards using the accelerator and executes the man. Using the dead man’s phone, Gregor calls the Russian boss, who’s shocked to hear from Gregor. Gregor says his price has gone up 300%.
Sam finds out that Gregor’s currently in a town called Arles. Gregor connects with two other Russians, arranging to meet them soon nearby. Gregor’s in position waiting for them until Sam softly puts a gun in his neck. When the Russians call out to Gregor, Deirdre and Vincent reveal they have guns on these men, too.
Some tourists walk by and Gregor yells and flings a woman at Sam, who chases him. Two other Russians break cover and shoot at Deirdre and Vincent. Seamus then grabs Gregor, while Sam is shot in the stomach. Seamus quickly tells Deirdre to drive.
Sam needs a doctor, saying the girl sold them out. Vincent drives to Jean-Pierre’s house and parks the car while Jean-Pierre calls off his attack dogs. Sam’s loaded onto a gurney, ready to operate on himself. Jean-Pierre must douse the wound with alcohol and swab away the blood. Vincent will grab the bullet and Sam will supervise things. Afterwards, Sam asks if Vincent’s ok stitching him up alone because he’s about to pass out.
Seamus and Deirdre have Gregor under close watch. Seamus blames Deirdre for them not having the case, because she was the one who hired Gregor. She questions Seamus over killing Larry. Seamus says he was clearing up her mess.
Jean-Pierre says Sam is tough and can’t be CIA because he operated on himself instead of calling for help. Vincent says he needs the whereabouts of an Irish man, an Irish woman and an ex-KGB German. When he comes around, Sam admires Jean-Pierre’s hand-painted, miniature Samurai figures. Jean-Pierre tells of the forty seven Ronin. Their master was betrayed and killed. So, after three years as masterless Samurai, or Ronin, they hid and plotted and finally killed their master’s murderer. Then, in the castle grounds, all forty seven of them committed “seppuku” — ritual suicide. The warrior code; the delight in battle. Then, Sam asks about the word “seppuku” to get it straight in his head. Jean-Pierre says it means disembowelment.
Vincent asks how Sam knew there was an ambush at the bridge by the river. Whenever there’s any doubt, there is no doubt. That’s the first thing they teach you. Vincent then asks who taught him. Sam says he doesn’t remember — that’s the second thing they teach you.
Sam pounces on Deirdre while she waits in the driving seat of a car. She speeds off, quickly collecting Seamus and Gregor on the way. Vincent and Sam follow. Both cars flash and sound their horns to clear the oncoming, civilian traffic from the road at high speed. Seamus shoots Vincent’s nearside window. Vincent shoots Deirdre’s tyre causing her car to roll onto its roof and slide off a half-finished overpass.
Gregor emerges through a window with the case. Vincent and Sam shoot at him from the roadway above. Workmen help extract Deirdre and Seamus before the car explodes.
Gregor takes the case to the Russians at an ice rink. There are big crowds as Natascha Kirilova and Russian sponsor, Mikhi, arrive. Vincent and Sam are there. When Mikhi later leaves his seat, Sam and Vincent follow him.
Mikhi gets his henchman to bring the money for Gregor. If Gregor doesn’t call his sniper friend in forty five seconds to say that he’s leaving, the dancer on the ice gets shot. And, then another ten minutes after that to say that he’s safe. If he’s unable to call, the dancer gets shot.
After ten seconds thinking, Mikhi shoots Gregor in the head and the dancer is quickly killed. Mikhi and henchman bustle through security showing Chilean passports. When the audience realises the dancer they’re watching is actually dead, they stampede. Seamus, dressed as a policeman outside, shoots both Russians and takes the case.
Vincent follows Seamus, while Sam finds Deirdre in a police car. He explains to her that he doesn’t care about the case, he came for Seamus and that he never left the CIA. Deirdre sets her siren going and drives away. Seamus is now stranded.
Seamus shoots Vincent twice, then escapes through a fence amidst the confusion. He goes into a backstage area, where he hides behind a random woman and shoots at Sam. He then puts Sam on the floor. Just when Seamus is about to kill Sam, Vincent appears and shoots Seamus from above. Vincent then collapses from his wounds.
The BBC World Service reports that after thirty years of conflict in Northern Ireland, a peace agreement has been reached. The slaying of Irish terrorist, Seamus O’Rourke helped stabilise matters regarding the peace talks.
Vincent and Sam are in a café. Vincent asks what was in the case. Sam says he doesn’t remember. Sam gets into a car driven by a CIA contact. No questions. No answers. That’s the business they’re in. You accept it and move on. Maybe that’s lesson number three.
Starring Robert De Niro. Jean Reno. Natascha McElhone. Rated 15. Dir John Frankenheimer. Released in the UK 1998. Runtime 2hrs 2mins