Two garbage collectors gun down a man with mini-Uzis. A bald-headed tough steals a car from a dealership and crushes the dealer. A tugboat is blown up in the harbor.
These murders have one thing in common - all involve former members of a commando team led by John Matrix, a hulking ex-Colonel whose exploits have made him and his men enemies among totalitarian empires and groups around the world. Matrix and his daughter Jenny live alone in the mountains of upstate California, but Matrix's former commanding officer, General Franklin Kirby, flies to the house to tell Matrix about the killings of his men, and to leave two expert soldiers to guard him as Kirby and the feds work to find the killers.
No sooner does Kirby leave, however, than a mass of gunmen open fire on the house, killing the two soldiers. Jenny hides in her bedroom while Matrix rushes to his shed - in reality an underground weapons bunker - to get his rifle. Now armed, he confronts a gunman who offers him a choice - do as they say and his daughter, now being taken away in one of several fleeing cars, lives. Matrix blasts the gunman, and despite finding his truck sabotaged, he goes after the gunmen by driving the powerless truck down the steep mountain, intercepting one of the fleeing vehicles and attacking four armed thugs, beating two senseless before being beaten down himself. He then is confronted by the gunmen's leader - Bennett, who had been thought killed in the tugboat explosion. Bennett, however, is the one behind the killings and faked his own death to smoke out Kirby and Matrix, wanting revenge after being discharged by Matrix from the Army for massacreing civilians in a South American nation whose Marxist dictator, Arias, was overthrown by Matrix's team - and who is now Bennett's employer.
Matrix is being dragooned into flying to Arias' country to overthrow its new leader, but Matrix escapes and must force the assistance of Cindy, an off-duty pilot, to help track down Arias' men after one of them, Sully, tries to hit on her. Matrix and Cindy track down Sully and after a violent brawl at a mall and a chase up the Hollywood hills he apprehends Sully and holds him over a steep cliff, demanding information on Jenny's whereabouts. Sully only knows what his pal Cooke (the bald-headed thug) knows, so Matrix drops Sully to his death.
Matrix confronts Cooke at his motel, and a brawl erupts that spills into the room of a very amorous couple startled while making love. The supremely-endowed couple watch in horror as Matrix kills Cooke, then finds information in his pocket and his car that leads to a warehouse showing an island where Jenny is being held. First Matrix and Cindy raid a weapons store but Matrix must be rescued from intruding police; Cindy pulls this off with a rocket launcher she figures out how to use by reading the available instruction manual.
Matrix and Cindy hijack a seaplane and fly to the island, where he arms himself like an army and sneaks into Arias' fortress. There he blows up barracks and slaughters Arias' inept army of soldiers, but in the chaos Jenny escapes but is caught by Bennett in the boiler room of the main mansion. Matrix succeeds in killing Arias but must taunt Bennett into freeing Jenny by appealing to his steroid-induced egomania and rage for killing Matrix in hand-to-hand combat.