Joseph Collins goes to an abandoned building where he picks up a briefcase of money then receives a phone call. The man confirms with the caller that the "product" is where he showed it earlier, and they'll pick it up in two days. Collins is unaware that the phone is tapped but it doesn't matter since he hasn't said where the goods are.
Jim picks up his briefing at a photo shoot is informed that a nuclear physicist, Joseph Collins, ha stolen enough platinum to make a dozen atomic bombs. Collins plans to sell the plutonium to Haig, an agent of a foreign power, and the IMF must identify Haig and locate the platinum.
The IMF team reviews the tape made of Collins' call which includes the meeting time. They figure Collins has hidden the plutonium somewhere nearby and they'll be using an area leveled by an earthquake, and a section of the police headquarters closed down for repairs. They've also got a fake radio with a pre-taped transmission, and Casey has a subcutaneously-administered knockout drug ready as well as a drug that lowers the body temperature five degrees, and an astringent that won't last more than eleven hours. They have 28 hours to figure out the plutonium's location.
At his apartment, the pre-taped news broadcast informs Collins of a global crisis in the Middle East. Collins gets a call from Max Bander, Haig's representative. Bander directs Collins' attention to the men watching him, including Willy, and warns him to go through with the deal. As Collins leaves, Willy arrests him for murder and takes him downtown, while Bander takes their license plate.
Willy takes Collins to the section of police headquarters they're using while Bander hires a private detective, Marshall, to track down the license plate. Collins places a call to his lawyer and Casey takes the call and says his lawyer is out. They prepare a fake newspaper with a headline on the global crisis and Willy takes Collins away while the private detective watches. They prepare to interrogate Collins while showing him the fake newspaper and broadcasting more fake newscasts. Marshall has no luck figuring out who the car belongs to and can't get into the renovated wing. Willy interrogates Collins while Marshall lowers a microphone down through the ventilation system and listens in. They announce a missile attack and then a retaliatory nuclear strike as a puzzled Marshall listens in. Then the IMF runs a fake film outside the cell window showing a nuclear explosion and they drug Collins unconscious. Jim announces they're on-schedule while Marshall begins to realize what's going on.
They take a bandaged Collins out to the area leveled by the earthquakes, while Marshall plays the tape for Bander and the foreign agent Smith. They pay him off in return for Collins' location and then Bander takes some men to check it out.
Collins wakes up to find himself working on a canning line with a group of old men while armed soldiers watch them. He looks in a mirror and finds that he's now an old man and it's the year 2000. Jim arrives as their commanding office and demands to know what's going on. He puts Collins in a holding cell with Caribbean student/prisoner Barney. He sees old men being strapped into chairs in the room across the hall and then gassed to death. Barney identifies Collins as a "Class 9," one of the ones near ground zero when the bombs went off and went into shock, while he's a prisoner of war. Air raid sirens go off and the IMF provides more sound effects of an attack and detonates explosives outside. Nearby, Bander and his men look on in confusion.
The ceiling comes down and Barney and Collins escape the cell. Collins grabs a gun from a dead soldier then hides in the cell with Barney as Jim brings in men to conduct a rescue operation. Collins forces Barney to get him out and he explains that Collins is now 65 and all men that old are put to death. Barney takes Collins out and they confront some soldiers and run away, unaware that Bander is watching them. Barney and Collins hide in an abandoned building while Bander reports to his superiors that they'll track Collins.
Collins gets to the control center where Barney sends a hidden signal for them to start a briefing about how they're losing the war because of their lack of nuclear weapons. The guards then capture Collins and Barney and bring them in. Collins offers to give them the refined plutonium to make new bombs, unaware his make-up is starting to dissolve. Jim and the others express skepticism and Collins boasts that the plutonium is safely hidden away. Collins tries to bargain for his safety but relents and goes to the maps. However, Collins balks and they try to reassure him. Collins finally gives them the location beneath a bridge, and Bander and his men listen in with a parabolic microphone.
Bander gets to the bridge where Haig is already digging up the plutonium at the pre-arranged time. The two sides shoot it out with Haig winning. Jim and the others then take Haig into custody.
In his cell, Collins finally gets impatient and goes out, only to realize all of the "bodies" are gone and everyone else has left. As he staggers outside his make-up melts off entirely. As the police arrive to arrest him, Collins laughs hysterically as he realizes what has happened.