Jim Davis (CHRISTIAN BALE) is an honorably discharged, ex-Army ranger who's still haunted by nightmares of what he saw and did in the service. He also finds some peace and solace in his Mexican girlfriend, Marta (TAMMY TRULL), who he hopes to marry after bringing her back to the States once he gets a visa for her.
His main obstacle is that he doesn't have a job, although he wants to land one with the LAPD, a point that his best friend Mike Alonzo (FREDDY RODRIGUEZ) thinks is ironic since Jim is otherwise a law-breaking screw-up. Mike is also unemployed, much to the chagrin of his live-in lawyer girlfriend Sylvia (EVA LONGORIA) who rightly worries that he's out drinking and getting into trouble with Jim when he should be looking for a job.
When the LAPD turns him down, Jim starts to spiral out of control, leading to drinking, violence and more, dragging Mike along for the ride. Fueled by booze and drugs, Jim's volatility only gets worse, although he can turn on the charm and good manners when needed, such as when applying for a job with the Department of Homeland Security.
But when that results in him being forced to choose between Marta and a job that would utilize his specialized if lethal skills in a far-off country, he finds himself torn about what to do. That leads to him, Mike and their friend Toussant (CHAKA FORMAN) heading off to Mexico for what might be their last hurrah, unaware that Jim might snap at any moment and thus turn all of their lives upside down.