In a Baltic country, a thief runs down the street carrying a gold cross. Three soldiers open fire on him, and the wounded thief runs to a nearby statue of an eagle. A few seconds later, the soldiers arrive and the thief continues running into a nearby church. He calls to Father Thomas Vallis and runs to the front. Dying the thief draws the numbers 1769 on the floor in his own blood and dies. As Thomas wipes the number out, the soldiers come in and confirm that the thief doesn't have the cross. Defense Minister Ivan Savitch enters and asks Thomas where the cross is. Thomas tells him that the thief said that God should save them from leaders like Ivan. Ivan orders his lieutenant, Braun, to take Thomas to the Tower.
In San Francisco, Jim picks up his briefing from a flower seller on the street. He's informed that Ivan is operating without the consent of the freely elected prime minister in the Baltic region, has killed or imprisoned over a hundred dissidents. Thomas leads the fight against him. Two days ago, a man broke into a museum and stole the Cross of St. Boniface, and it represents his country's history. Hidden inside of it is evidence proving the atrocities that he's committed has imprisoned Thomas in the country's most notorious prison, the Tower, and the team must rescue Thomas and retrieve the Cross.
At the apartment, Nicholas explains that he'll be impersonating Dr. Devon Kovoloski, an authority on religious artifacts with the Vatican museum. The IMF intercepted a telegram from Ivan to Devon. In three days, a circus will be entering the country to give a command performance for the prime minister. The team will use the circus to smuggle Thomas out of the country. Ivan has to appear at the command performance. The Tower is equipped with a wide range of security devices and was moved from its original location several decades ago. Grant has pinpointed Thomas' location and has a disruptor that will crumble the stone. The team has three days to rescue Thomas and find the Cross.
Jim goes to the circus and meets with the owner, Jules Ashton. He introduces Shannon as his wife and says that Ivan likes sideshows. Jim also has statements from Jules and the other circus members, expressing disloyalty against Ivan. Ivan quickly agrees to add Shannon to the circus.
In the Tower, Ivan gives Thomas a drug to force him to tell where the Cross is hidden. When Thomas refuses to speak, they give him the drug and he screams in pain.
Jim gets the prime minister's schedule and confirms that he's coming by helicopter. Shannon has photos of the Cross, and they look at the machine that can create a fake. Nicholas has disguised himself as Devon, and goes to meet with Ivan. They search his car and Braun demands to see his papers.
Max and Grant drive motorcycles to the base of the tower and prepare to start their climb.
Drugged, Thomas describes the thief drawing 1769 and saying the word "David". It means nothing to Ivan or his interrogator, Muler. Ivan then meets with Nicholas in his office and says that Nicholas is the only one who knows every detail of the Cross. Braun comes in and tests Nicholas on his knowledge of Latin, and Nicholas easily translates and they share a toast to the Cross' return.
Max and Grant reach a passageway into the Tower, and Grant uses his disruptor to remove apart the bars blocking the passageway. As he goes in, Max steps on a pressure plate and freezes before the trap can go off. They remove Max's backpack and use it to help wedge a pole to hold the plate down. Grant pulls Max clear and when he pulls the backpack free, the bear trap closes where Max's leg was.
That night, Ivan takes Nicholas to the church and Ivan says that the prime minister won't happen and Thomas is a well-known troublemaker. Braun arrives and says that Thomas told them nothing different. He asks who has left message for Nicholas at his hotel, and Nicholas says that Jim contacted him in Rome and wanted him to confirm the Cross' existence. Braun confirms that the phones came from the circus box office, and Ivan leaves with Braun to meet Jim.
The next day, the two men arrive at the circus. They ask if he heard back from Nicholas about the Cross. He says that Nicholas was going to help him identify another cross that he picked up in Athens. Shannon comes in and Ivan flirts with her. Jim and Shannon stage a brief argument, and Ivan says that he looks forward to seeing Shannon later. Outside, Braun figures that Jim and Nicholas are up to something but Ivan tells him to continue monitoring Nicholas. He figures that if Jim is after the Cross, they'll let him do the work of finding it and then Shannon will be glad to give it to them. Shannon comes out and smiles at Ivan.
Max and Grant ascend up a shaft to the Tower.
Jim and Shannon make the fake Cross out of a gold alloy. Nicholas makes a Thomas mask.
As they continue their climb, Grant sets off a trap that fires spikes. Max pulls him out of the way just in time.
Nicholas works on impersonating Ivan's voice and tells Shannon that he's prepared several answers and they'll intercept Braun's calls to his superior via an intercept chip that will give the right response. Shannon gets into her car and Braun, in the back seat, draws a gun on her. He has her drive to Ivan's office, and Ivan says that he wants her to be his friend. She figures that it's about the Cross that Jim has been chasing, and says that he's close to getting it. Ivan flicks a button off of her blouse with his knife, and when he turns away Shannon slips the chip onto his phone. He tells her that he wants her to tell him everything that Jim does and flicks off another button. Ivan grabs and kisses her, and Shannon slaps him. More amused than offended, Ivan figures that she wants him on her own terms.
Max and Grant find the stone indicating Thomas' cell on the other side and Grant starts drilling.
Jim has placed a computer chip with false data, and Shannon calls Ivan to set up a meeting. Nicholas then shows Braun a piece of paper that he's forged, and Braun calls Ivan. The chip picks up the call and "Ivan" tells Braun to handle it on his own.
Ivan meets Shannon at the church and slaps her when she says that she doesn't have the Cross. However, Shannon says that Jim buried it in the gardens in People's Park. Jim is laying low after Ivan's visit and will get the Cross after the circus performance. Shannon tries to slap Ivan, but he easily catches her hand and walks off.
Nicholas and Braun go to Thomas' cell and Nicholas shoots Braun with a knockout dart. He radios Grant and Max that they're clear, and they remove the weakened stone. They have Thomas put on Braun's uniform and Nicholas makes up a mask of Thomas to put on Braun.
Ivan has Muler dig up the garden and they find the fake Cross where Jim planted it. The Defense Minister that he wants to play the chip in the morning.
Nicholas and the others take Thomas out the way that they entered. They go to the circus and Thomas tells them that he doesn't know what the thief's message means. Thomas refuses to leave without the Cross, and Shannon works up that "David 1769" is the 17th Psalm in the Old Testament: the Prayer of David. They check a Bible and confirm that the verses refer to the "shadow of one's wings". Thomas remembers the statue of an eagle near his church.
Ivan sends Muler to print out the data from the chip, then draws his gun and goes to Thomas' cell. Braun-as-Thomas wakes up and leaves the cell, and sees his face in a puddle. Ivan arrives, assumes that Braun is Thomas, and shoots him dead. As Braun dies, he rips off the Thomas mask and Ivan realizes that he's been tricked. Muler returns and reports that the chip data are pages of a phonebook. Ivan figures that the Cross is a fake as well and tells his men to turn the circus upside down. Muler warns that it will have to wait until after the command performance, where the prime minister and the media are. Ivan agrees but orders every exit out of the country sealed off.
The Prime Minister arrives by helicopter.
Max and Grant go to the statue posing as cleaners, and under the eyes of the watching soldiers Grant removes the Cross while Max sprays steam to cover him.
Ivan's soldiers surround the circus. Grant and Max return and show Jim the Cross, and Jim goes to buy them some time.
Ivan joins the Prime Minister on the viewing stand and claims that the soldiers are the usual security detail.
Jim offers the ringmaster a flask of whiskey for his throat. Soon the ringmaster loses his voice and Jim is glad to fill in. Nicholas and Thomas dress up as clown and Thomas hides the Cross in his coat pocket. They then play cards and the soldiers overlook them. Muler goes into the tent and signals to Ivan that they've found nothing, and Ivan radios him to keep searching.
Max knocks out the Prime Minister's pilot.
Shannon rides an elephant into the big top and Jim introduces the clowns: Nicholas, Grant, and Thomas among them. They use a trampoline to jump up on a stand and then Nicholas ascends a rope out the top and slide down a line to the waiting helicopter. Shannon goes up next and Ivan, realizing something is going on, tries to go after them. The other clowns stop him, while Jim sends Thomas out next. Thomas drops the Cross, and Jim runs over and grabs it as Grant goes out next. Ivan gets there just as Jim goes up and out, then gets in the helicopter with the others. As they depart, Ivan runs out but is too late.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 19, 2018