Jack Axel is a crooked cop and hitman working for Senator Vernon Trent. In 1983, when Axel's fellow detective Mason Storm discovered that Trent was going to have a rival politician assassinated, Axel went to the Storm household along with Max Quentero and another crooked cop to kill Storm. In the process, the three murdered Storm's wife, Felicia, and although Storm's son escaped out the window and Storm himself managed to kill the third attacker and break Quentero's wrist, he was nonetheless riddled with bullets from the villains' guns and put into a coma for seven years.

When he wakes up, his attending physician Andy Stewart attempts to contact his superior Lieutenant Kevin O'Malley, but gets Detective Sergeant Goodhart instead. Unaware that basically every cop in LA is on the take from Trent, she reveals Storm's awakening to Goodhart, who in turn informs Captain Dan Hulland, who dispatches Axel, disguised as a doctor, to murder Storm.

Unfortunately for Axel, although he's one vicious son of a bitch who casually murders pretty much everyone he comes across, he proves to be the world's most inept assassin when it comes to actually killing the man he was sent for, and Storm is able to escape with Andy's help following a tense sequence involving a game of elevator tag.

Axel and his corrupt copper buddies make numerous failed attempts throughout the film to kill Storm, all of which end with almost all of the various hit teams dead except for Axel.

At the end of the film, Axel is with Captain Hulland at Trent's mansion providing security for the Senator, due to Hulland's legitimate concerns that Storm will come looking to kill Trent. While they await the hero's arrival, we see Axel teaching some of Trent's surviving goons how to play pool in the mansion's billiard room.

Enter Storm, who holds them all at gunpoint. "How's the action, boys?" he asks casually. None of the bad guys reply. Storm jokingly asserts that they won't let him play with them because of the gun, referencing an earlier scene in the film. So to "put them at ease," he stuffs the gun into the waistband of his pants, and asks for someone to give him a cue. A brief fight scene kicks off that concludes with the three nameless goons lying unconscious on the floor. Axel stayed out of the fight so he could back over to a cart of cake and refreshments and grab a carving knife.

"I'm impressed," he says, likely thinking that because he killed Felicia, he's Storm's arch-nemesis or something and they're about to have a truly impressive fight scene.

Alas, he's sorely mistaken. He's barely done saying those words than Storm walks up to him and disarms him, then breaks the billiard cue in half, jamming the jagged, broken end into Axel's throat. As he does so, both men flash back to the night Axel gunned Felicia down in the Storm family's bedroom, and, as Axel slowly sinks to his knees, Storm tells him, "That's for my wife! Fuck you and die!" Not one for original action movie finishing lines, our Storm.

He then kicks Axel in the face as a parting gift, and, bending at the knees in a really weird and uncomfortable-looking way, Axel slowly leans over backwards to lie in an unusual bent over backwards position on the floor, where he expires.