John Cutter is a former cop and airline security expert who is the main protagonist of Passenger 57.
He was played by Wesley Snipes.
John Cutter is a former police officer, haunted by the death of his wife in a convenience store robbery, which he inadvertantly caused. Distraught over his role in his wife's death, Cutter has taken to training self-defense to flight attendants, including Marti Slayton. After one class, Cutter is approached by an old friend, Sly Delvecchio, who offers Cutter to be the vice-president of a new anti-terrorism unit for his company, Atlantic International Airlines. Cutter is reluctant, but Delvecchio and the company's president Stuart Ramsey convince him to accept the offer.
Cutter boards as the 57th passenger on an Atlantic International flight to Los Angeles, where Marti is one of the flight attendants. Psychotic British terrorist Charles Rane and his two FBI escorts are also aboard. After the flight takes off, several men in Rane's employ posing as flight attendants and passengers kill the FBI agents, release Rane and secure the plane. Cutter, in the lavatory at the time, manages to use the plane's cellular phones to warn Delvecchio to the situation, but Cutter is soon discovered by one of Rane's agents. Cutter overpowers the agent and takes his weapon; he then uses the agent as a shield to confront Rane. Rane is indifferent, and shows his ruthlessness by taking a passenger as hostage, and then killing him without mercy. Cutter realizes he's outmatched, and with Marti, escape to the plane's cargo hold, dispatching Vincent, another of Rane's men there, disguised as a caterer. Cutter dumps the plane's fuel, forcing Rane to order the pilots to land at a small Louisiana airfield. Cutter jumps from the plane once it has landed, but Marti is caught by Rane and kept aboard.
Rane contacts the field's tower and demands that the plane be refueled or he will start killing the hostages; he does offer that he will release half of the passengers should they comply. Rane also asserts that Cutter is one of his own men turned against him. Cutter is found by the local sheriff Chief Biggs and taken into custody. Biggs gives the go-ahead for refueling, and as the passengers are freed, Rane and his men escape from the plane, having given orders to those still on board to kill the rest of the hostages if their plans are interfered with. Cutter recognizes the passenger release as a diversion, and escapes from the sheriff, and chases Rane and his men into a local county fair. The FBI arrive and assert Cutter's true identity to Biggs. Cutter is able to kill one of Rane's men and get into a fight with Rane before police arrive and capture him.
Back at the tower, Rane asserts that if he does not contact the plane and is given flight clearance, his men aboard have been instructed to kill the rest of the hostages. The FBI arrange to return Rane to the plane, escorted by two agents, with plans to have a sniper take down Rane and allow the FBI to storm the plane to save the hostages. Instead, the sniper is Vincent, who fires at the escorts and previously killed the original sniper. Vincent is killed in the gunfight, not before Rane boards the plane and it starts to taxi. Rane orders the pilots to take off, while Cutter, with Biggs' help, manages to jump onto the speeding plane before it takes off. Inside, Cutter deals with more of Rane's men, before getting into a fight with Rane. Their fight blows out one of the plane's windows, causing the bulkhead door to blow out due to explosive cabin decompression. Cutter manages to get Rane to the door and forces him out; Rane falls out of the plane and plunges to his death. The plane quickly returns to the airfield, where the FBI secure Rane's remaining agents and the remaining hostages are freed. Amid congratulations and celebration, Marti and Cutter make their quiet escape into the distance hand in hand.