When terrorists take over two oil rigs, and threaten to blow them up if their demands are not met, an eccentric anti-terrorism expert volunteers his unique commando unit to stop them.
A terrorist (Anthony Perkins) holds an offshore drilling rig and production platform for ransom in the North Sea. Ffolkes (Roger Moore) a wealthy mysogynistic eccentric, volunteers to send his crack team of soldiers in to stop the terrorists. With few other options available, the British Government reluctantly accepts his help.
In England, some men who claim to be reporters, board a supply ship and accompany them as they bring supplies to an oil rig and a production platform. But when they get there, they pull guns and take over the ship. They proceed to plant explosives on the rig and the platform. They then call one of the Prime Minister's people and tell him that they will blow up the rig unless they are paid what they ask. While meeting with the Prime Minister, her people advises her that it would be best if they, pay but she doesn't want to give in to extortion. That's when someone suggests they call Lloyd's because they're the ones who will have to pay if the rig is blown up to and see if they have any options, and they do; Rufus Excalibur Ffolkes, a man who foresaw how the rig would be taken and devised a plan on how to reclaim it. So one of the Prime Minister's people and an Admiral goes to see him. Ffolkes tells him that they will be going to the oil rig and will get on board the supply ship which is part of Ffolkes' plan. But when they do, the leader doesn't want him there, so he sends him back, which complicates his plan.
- A group of reporters board a supply ship that restocks two oil drilling platforms in the North Sea. Only it turns out the "reporters" are actually criminals who have decided to hijack the ship, plant mines on the platforms, then inform the British Government (as majority owner of the oil platforms) that it can pay them US$25 million or watch both platforms - and the ship they are on - explode in a blaze of glory, plus $1,000 million in damages from the loss of the oil platforms. They have 24 hours to produce the money.
The Prime Minister speaks to her cabinet, and finds that there is a retired military officer, Rufus Excalibur ffolkes (Roger Moore) who runs an organization which does hostage rescue and anti-terrorist intervention. It is decided that his team will go in and defeat the terrorists.
The leader of the gang, whose code name is Cramer (played by Tony Perkins, decides he doesn't like the look of ffolkes (who is in the disguise of an actual miltary officer) and has him sent back, which disrupts his plans. He must resort to using a wet suit to swim over to the captured ship, where his own team will sneak aboard and defuse the bomb before they can get to it and set it off.
The Prime Minister informs ffolkes that they have the money, and it might be simpler to pay them off. He adamantly refuses, "Madam Prime Minister, you cannot pay off these people. Otherwise every madman in a ... rowing boat will hold the British nation to ransom." He informs her that they are to send out a helicopter, as the terrorists have demanded, but instead of the ransom, it is to have a bomb large enough to destroy the ship the terrorists have seized. He will send a signal if they defeat them, but if his team can't stop the terrorists before the deadline, the bomb is to be dropped, even though about 20 innocent people will be killed, plus himself.
In the end, he is able to defeat the terrorists, and Cramer almost reaches the trigger for the bomb, but ffolkes disables it in time and Cramer and all the other terrorists are killed.