Eddie Murphy once again finds himself exchanging both wisecracks and gunfire in this comic action-thriller. Scott Roper (Murphy) is a hostage negotiator with the San Francisco Police Department; Roper has his own way of doing things, which doesn't always mean following department proceedure, but he's good at his job and has the respect of his colleagues. Roper has been given a new partner, Kevin McCall (Michael Rapaport), a former SWAT team member whom Roper is training in the fine art of handing dangerous criminals with words as well as weapons; in his spare time, Roper tries to smooth out his stormy relationship with his girlfriend, Ronnie Tate (Carmen Ejogo), and deal with his addiction to gambling. However, Roper has his hands full when Michael Korda (Michael Wincott), a psychotic criminal, claims some hostages in the midst of a jewel heist. Roper finds it hard to be cool and detached in dealing with Korda, since the thief killed a cop who was one of his best friends, and one of the people taken by Korda happens to be Ronnie.