Former race car driver Brent Magna is pitted against the clock as he commandeers a custom Shelby Super Snake Mustang, taking it and its unwitting owner on a high-speed adventure at the command of a mysterious villain on a race against time to save the life of his kidnapped wife.
It's the Christmas season. In Sofia, Bulgaria, Leanne Magna has been abducted in a targeted kidnapping. The reason is that the unknown kidnapper has a special mission for her husband, ex-race car driver Brent Magna, which primarily requires high performance driving through the busy streets of the city. Brent quit driving professionally after he realized his publicity was greater than his belief in himself. He has lived a somewhat checkered life since. The kidnapper has provided Brent with a specially equipped sports car complete with cameras and video phone so that the kidnapper can watch his every move and so that the two can converse. Any deviation, intended or otherwise, from the kidnapper's instructions means that he will kill Leanne, including no contacting the police which also means not getting caught by the police. Things get complicated when a teenaged girl attempts an armed carjacking with Brent still in the car. Although the girl has no idea what's going on, Brent learns that she is all part of the plan, she who must now go along for the ride. As Brent and the girl begin to trust each other, they come to the conclusion that the kidnapper has no reason to keep Leanne or either of them alive after whatever the mission is completed. As such, they have to figure out what the kidnapper's end game is without him knowing for them to have any hope of keeping Leanne and themselves alive.
To save his kidnapped wife, Brent Magna must drive at the orders of a mysterious man.
- We open to Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) arriving home. The place has been ransacked, with the Christmas decorations destroyed and shattered glass everywhere. In addition, there is an obvious sign of a struggle, given Brent finds blood on the floor. He calls out to his wife and gets no response. Suddenly, his phone rings
Cut to a parking garage where a tricked out Shelby Super Snake Mustang waits. Brent steals it and escapes the parking garage despite security trying to stop him.
We flashback to him getting the call; a middle-aged man, simply called The Voice (Jon Voight) tells him that his wife has been taken and if Brent wants her back, he will have to do EXACTLY what he is told. The Voice tells him to steal the car. It has been outfitted with cameras to watch his every move, and is armor plated to deflect gunfire. Brent is warned by The Voice that he must do whatever he is directed to do. If he refuses a task, fails in it, or is caught by the police, then his wife will die.
Brent sees two cops chasing him and speeds off. Being a skilled driver, he is able to think quickly on his feet to evade them well, eventually setting a trap to cause one to crash into the other. Two more cop cars find him and give pursuit. Brent makes them follow him into a sewer gully and causes them to crash into deep water held in the ravine. He then backs out of the ravine and drives away, free of police attention for the moment.
The Voice calls Brent and directs him to a mountain. Once there, he called again and reminded of the rules; he does his tasks without question, and his wife lives. Disobey or get caught, and she dies. Brent requests proof of life and he is briefly allowed to hear her voice before The Voice cuts back in and tells him they will be in touch and to dump his phone. Brent tosses his phone and drives off.
We are told that the story is taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria.
We see Brent's wife, Leanne (Rebecca Budig) taken by the men who kidnapped her into a grimy holding room. Her cries to be let go are ignored.
Brent drives and thinks of his wife.
Brent receives a call from the phone system that has been added into the car. The Voice directs him towards his first task. He tells Brent to speed up and take some perilous turns, eventually being forced to crash through a park, ice rink, and shopping center, nearly killing numerous civilians in the process. The Voice calls to congratulate him and tells him to keep moving. Brent is ordered to crash into a water truck and run through a red lighted intersection, causing accidents in his wake. Brent is then ordered to park in a construction zone and await further instructions.
Waiting there, someone opens the passenger door and sticks a gun in Brents face. Known simply as The Kid (Selena Gomez), she is apparently a car thief tells him to get out. Brent refuses and begins to struggle with her. The Voice calls and tells Brent to take her with him. Having no choice, Brent races off with her. Brent asks what he should do.
Kill her, The Voice says.
Kid looks horrified and Brent balks at doing it. The Voice says if he doesn't, his wife will die instead and gives him till the count of three. Brent points the gun at her face but cant do it. "I'm not a killer", Brent says. The Voice says that it is a good choice, as he will need her.
Yet another cop car spots them, and Brent drives to evade him. Kid is screaming for him to pull over but of course Brent cant do it. He is eventually able to get rid of it, causing it to crash. What the hell did you do?! Kid screams. She tries to yell out of the window to get a cops attention until Brent pulls her back inside.
An unmarked cop car joins the pursuit and Brent is forced to hit him and cause his car to flip three times into another. Kid yells at Brent for ruining her car with all the cameras and other high tech added to it. Brent doesnt know what she is talking about. This is my car, Kid says. She was given an anonymous tip by a cop that someone had stole it and told her where it was seen. Brent tells her no cop would do that, and them meeting was no accident. It was planned.
We see The Voice at a bar. He maps Brent's location on a map then sets more cops onto him by hacking the police scanners.
Kid and Brent talk. Brent tries to explain what is going on but doesn't know much. He doesn't recognize The Voice who is ordering him around.
The Voice calls him and tells him of his second task. Brent will have numerous cops on his tail and has four minutes to escape. If he doesn't, Leanne dies. Having no choice once more, Brent evades numerous cop cars that are thrown at him, ramming one, forcing another off the road, and causing two to hit a truck. He drives down some stairs and gets away to The Voices satisfaction before time runs out. They continue to drive.
We cut back to The Voice. His computer says two streets have been blocked.
Kid is angered about the damage done to her car as it was a birthday gift by her father. She reaches into the glove compartment and finds her hidden iPad. Kid is apparently a hacker of some kind. She tracks the camera feed and sees that it is pinging off a government server. She notices several other feeds including a parking garage.
The Voice calls again. He speaks of an article speaking of Brents racing career and tells him about the third task. The Voice wants them to go to a power plant and upload a flash drive into the system by 11:30 p.m. When Kid asks why he needs the power gone, The Voice tells her it would be wise not to ask too many questions.
Having time to kill, Brent and The Kid park the car nearby the plant. Kid is livid since she believes Brent is a criminal. Brent explains that he used to be. He was formerly a NASCAR driver that washed out due to his dangerous driving skills that led to numerous wrecks. In debt, he became a wheelman and did some things he wasn't proud off. He changed for his wife Leanne, and they moved back to her home country to start over.
Kid tells Brent she is a daughter of a Bank CEO that moved her here two years ago. He is distant and basically gives her money instead of actual affection.
Kid then breaks down the big picture that Brent has apparently missed; when the tasks are over, why would The Voice ever give Brent his wife back? If it was the Kid in control, she would kill Brent and Leanne anyway. Oh shit, Id kill me too, Kid says, realizing they are all expendable. Brent says it is time to go and they drive to the plant.
Kid gets out of the car saying she will hack the server. She uploads the data then hacks the computer to try and call 911. Thinking she got through, she tries to tell what has happened, only for The Voice to laugh at her, telling her as smart as she is, hes smarter. The Voice tells Kid to look up and she sees herself on camera. The whole thing was a set up to incriminate her. He tells Kid to run as the plant overloads. Kid gets in the car and Brent drives off as the entire plant explodes, taking out several power grids in the city.
Brent and Kid are confronted by more cops. Brent drives evasively to disable them.
The Voice is at the bar. His computer says five key streets have been blocked. He grins.
Taking a moment to breathe, Brent pulls over. Kid gets out and says she is leaving. She mentions the camera at the plant and tells Brent they are being set up for something big that The Voice is planning. They are doing everything so they will be arrested and the ones who planned this will have full deniability. "I'm not dying for you", Kid says. I have to take care of myself.
Brent gets a call from The Voice, demanding to get Kid back. Brent says 'no'. Brent is then giving a video of Leanne surrounded by guards and then the feed cuts out, signifying to Brent that she has been killed. The Voice says he warned him about disobedience. Kid comes back and says she is sorry. Brent says none of this is her fault. Kid tells him that Leanne is still alive. The Voice wouldn't kill his only bargaining chip until everything is done.
While being pursued, yet again by more cops, Kid looks at her iPad and examines the crash locations. She realizes the points will cause a major traffic jam, leaving only one way out of the city. Its an escape route, Brent says.
The Voice calls again and gives Brent his final task, to rob a bank. Specifically, the bank that Kids father runs. Brent is ordered to turn around and go in the direction of the bank. Brent asks when he can see his wife again. The Voice tries to shut him up and Brent finally loses his patience. I need to know that she is all right and WHEN THIS SHIT IS GOING TO BE OVER! The Voice tells him to keep his cool and turn around NOW. Brent relents and turns around.
As they drive and evade the police, Kid questions the plan. Her fathers bank isn't a normal bank; it is an investment firm with just computers. Brent and Kid realize there must be evidence of hidden bank accounts with billions of dirty money on one of the hard drives. The blocked streets and electricity outage would cause bank protocol to move the sensitive information to another destination. They are being used for the ultimate fall guys. Furthermore, Kid was used to make it appear that she was targeting her fathers bank because she was cut off financially by him.
Brent has to cut through a warehouse and fight off cop cars and a motorcycle. He trips the motorcycle causing it to flip and have its driver smash into a cop cars window. He evades the others by well placed jumps and exits the warehouse.
Thinking quick, Kid uses her iPad to create a camera loop to trick The Voice. She thinks they are falling into a trap and wants to make sure. The loop will buy then time.
Journeying near the bank, they see dozens of cop cars waiting. They finally realize that is all a set up. They would crash through the empty barricade, and rob an empty bank, while The Voice gets away with everything. Kid points out a nearby parking garage and they realize the hard drives are being moved from there.
We see a security team moving the drives into an armored car when they hear motorcycles. Four motorcycle drivers with sub-machine guns attack the convoy, killing four guards. The drivers of the truck try to leave, only for the mercenaries to place bombs on the windows. The bombs kill them and cause them to crash the truck. Just as the mercenaries double to take them, Brent and The Kid drive up and intercept the drives to The Voices obvious surprise.
As they drive off, The Voice calls them and threatens them but Brent shuts him up. We hold the cards now, Asshole! Kid yells to The Voices anger. The four motorcycles give chase. Brent tips one into a passing trolley. The other three shoot at the car but the bullets deflect due to the armor plating. Brent eventually causes the others to crash.
Forced into a dead end surrounded by cops, Brent thinks fast. Taking Kids gun, he pretends to hold her hostage, causing the police to back off. They drive off once more.
The Voice, though on the defensive, is still able to track the car. He calls one of his men and sends him the location.
Brent pulls over to let Kid leave. Kid refuses to leave saying he would do something stupid without her. Just as they settle that, The Red Biker gives chase. They drive into a train yard where the Red Biker is shooting at them. Timing himself, Brent fires one shot that hits the Red Biker. He crashes into some machinery, causing a fireball chain reaction as Brent and Kid drive away.
Brent calls The Voice and proposes a trade. He tells him to meet him at his workplace in two hours.
Before they head there, Kid gets a brilliant idea. She tampers with the car cameras to make it a live feed to alert the police. That way, the authorities can see that they were entrapped and bring backup when things go bad.
They head to an airport hangar. Five henchmen come out. Brent asks about his wife. The lead henchman asks about the Drives. Kid shows it. Brent asks about his wife. The lead henchman directs one of his men to get Leanne. The man then wants the drive, but Kid tells him to release Leanne first. He complies and Kid comes over to validate the drive. As she walks over, she notices an earpiece in the mans ear. She realizes The Voice is planning to kill them as soon as the transfer is done. The tech transfers the money and okays it to his boss. Cut to The Voice ordering his men to kill them all.
Kid warns Brent, who shields his wife. He gets shot in the back just as the cops rush in and arrest the henchmen. In the confusion, The Voice, who had been hiding in one of the cars, grabs Kid and drives off. Brent had been only grazed by the bullet and sees Kid get kidnapped. Brent tells his wife he has to save her and tells Leanne to stay with the police and drives off.
Kid uses her camera to link to her iPad to give Brent landmarks to follow. Brent sees it but he has his hands full. More of The Voices goons, this time outfitted with grenade launchers are pursuing him. They sandwich his car and try to grenade him several times. Brent is able to cause one to flip while he and the other car fishtail in an intersection. Brent cant get his car to start again and the other car is readying a grenade launcher. However, Brent is saved with an 18 wheeler clobbers the other car. He starts up the car, and drives away only to get caught in traffic. Remembering the blocked roads, and that there would be only one path out of the city, Brent turns around. He knows which way they are going.
Taking the route, he comes up to the SUV where The Voice has kidnapped Kid. In an unbroken take, we watch through the windshield as both cars dodge traffic and each other. The Voice eventually drives into a park and tells Kid to get out. She is forced to jump out of the moving vehicle right into Brent's path. As she shields her face, Brent twists the wheel to miss her, causing his car to flip and crash right into the SUV driven by The Voice.
Kid is able to get Brent out of the car as it bursts into flames. Police show up to put out the fires and put The Voice under arrest. Another police car shows up with Leanne and Brent realizes it is finally over. Kid jokes about how Brent owes her a new car and Brent replies it just needs a new paint job. Suddenly, a phone rings in Leanne's pocket. It isn't hers.
Brent answers it to hear The Voice. Brent looks into the cop car holding the man who he thought was The Voice only to realize it is a decoy. The Voice congratulates him for doing so well. Asked about who he is, The Voice replies he is just Brent's biggest fan and chose him because he thought Brent never lived up to his potential until now. The Voice thanks him for his help and the money he helped him steal, which he now has quite a lot.
We see a satellite view. The Voice wasn't even in Bulgaria. He had been directing all his men from a bar in the United States. He sees his new account balance and shut his laptop down, handing it to a henchman who locks it away in a special locking suitcase. He then walks out of the bar, completely getting away with the heist.