The film opens at a nuclear plant in Hong Kong. Somewhere, a hacker causes the coolant pumps to overheat and make an explosion. Not long after in Chicago, the Mercantile Trade Exchange gets hacked, making numbers go way up. The Chinese government and the FBI determine that the hack was caused by a Remote Access Tool (RAT). A military man named Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang) is recruited by find the people responsible for the attacks.
Dawai enlists the aid of his sister Lien (Wei Tang). He meets with Agent Carol Barrett (Viola Davis) and another agent (Holt McCallany) in Los Angeles to seek out an incarcerated hacker named Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), with whom Dawai went to college. Hathaway is given furlough in exchange for his services, but he tells the warden that he will only provide help if his sentence is commuted. The agreement is made, but if Hathaway comes up empty, he will be sent back to prison immediately.
Hathaway greets Dawai warmly before they meet with the FBI agents. The agents learn that one of their own, James Lozano, was a spy whose real name was Alonzo Reyes, and that he may have a connection to the hacker.
Hathaway and Lien go to Reyes's apartment, where he is dead in his room with a needle in his arm. Hathaway looks at the guy's computer and sees he was sent a message for a drop later that night. He responds to the message with confirmation that the drop will still take place. The police arrive to take out Reyes's body.
That night, Hathaway and Lien go to a Chinese restaurant for the drop. While they wait, Lien asks Hathaway what he went to prison for. He says that he first spent a little more than a year in prison for a bar fight, but his hacking landed him back in there for 13 years. Hathaway doesn't think much of himself, but Lien believes he is a smart man with a lot of worth. They continue to wait for their suspect until Hathaway goes into the back and sees the security camera. It was bugged to follow his and Lien's movements in the restaurant. He manages to send a message to the hacker on the computer with a threat. Back in the restaurant, three men enter and aggressively approach Hathaway. He promptly beats them all senseless.
The team is sent to China after learning the identities of three men who transferred a large sum of money into separate accounts. They are presumably connected to a vicious criminal named Kassar (Ritchie Coster). Several Chinese agents stake out the villains while the rest of the team attempts to track the three men. The Chinese agents are murdered by Kassar and his goons, leading to a chase through the streets. More agents get killed, and Kassar gets away. The team does succeed in apprehending the three men.
Hathaway and Dawai are sent to the nuclear plant in hazmat suits to retrieve a drive. Using that and a decrypting system called Black Widow, the team learns that the source of the RAT came from Chai Wan.
With the team preparing to head to Chai Wan, Hathaway is not granted a renewal on his visa and is therefore not permitted to continue on the mission. Lien helps him get through, as she and Hathaway have become romantically involved. Dawai catches them, and although Hathaway is apologetic, Dawai noticed that his sister does seem happier than she has in a while, but is weary of what might happen if Hathaway gets sent back to jail.
The trio manage to get Hathaway into Chai Wan, with the FBI issuing a manhunt for him. The trio drive through the city and stop somewhere when Lien gets upset over Hathaway's callous behavior toward the mission. He gets out of the car to comfort her, when the car explodes with Dawai still inside. Kassar and his men attack after one of his goons spotted Dawai earlier. They shoot at Hathaway and Lien, just as Barrett and the other agent arrive in time to return fire. Several goons are killed, but so are Barrett and the other agent. Hathaway and Lien escape on the subway. Lien grieves for her brother.
Hathaway and Lien travel to Malaysia near the ocean, when Hathaway realizes that the hacker's attack at the nuclear plant was merely a rehearsal for a bigger plan to flood more areas with water at more devastating levels. The two then track the location of the stolen money to a bank in the area. Lien spills coffee on some paper to create a diversion when she gets into the bank. She helps Hathaway hack into the bank and transfer the hacker's money away from his account. Hathaway sends a message saying he knows who the hacker is and that he is about to have a bad day. Hathaway then gets a call from Kassar. He puts Hathaway on the phone with the boss. They arrange to meet somewhere with only him and Kassar.
Hathaway and Lien go to Jakarta to meet with the villains. They come with armed men to the first location Hathaway suggests, so they meet later that night at a parade. Hathaway finds Kassar and tries to sneak up on him with a knife, but Kassar pulls the gun on him. He tries to search Hathaway, but Hathaway manages to grab Kassar and stab him in the neck. The henchmen then open fire, killing several bystanders. Hathaway shoots the two goons dead before confronting the boss. The boss almost kills Hathaway, until Hathaway gets him and stabs him repeatedly until he bleeds out. Hathaway leaves with Lien.
The film ends with Hathaway and Lien starting a new life together in China with over than 46 million in the bank.
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