Sylvester Stallone plays Ray Tango, a flashy narco cop in the LAPD who is all business and efficient. Kurt Russell plays Gabriel Cash, more of a devil-may-care type who just so happens to get the big bust whenever he needs it. Drug kingpin Yves Perret (Jack Palance) wants the two biggest obstacles out of his way, and hatches a plan that will do it: have Tango and Cash brought up on a bogus murder charge. The cops are initially sentenced to a short stint in a minimum security prison, only to find themselves railroaded (thanks to Perret’s influence) to a seedy penitentiary, where their lives are in danger at every turn. They have no choice but to try to escape and clear their names, taking down Perret in the process.