The movie was co-produced by Gary Kurtz, who also produced another film starring Mark Hamill, Star Wars.
Slipstream takes place in the near future. A natural disaster (or series of natural disasters) has radically changed the globe. The Earth is ruled by a powerful wind which emerged from the apocalypse, the Slipstream; flying in airplanes or balloons is now the main (if not only) form of long distance transportation.
The film opens with a man, Byron (Peck) running down a canyon, being harassed by an airplane. Byron takes refuge from his pursuers on a precipice overlooking the canyon. The plane lands and its occupants, two bounty hunters named Tasker and Belitski (Hamill and Aldridge), chase the man on foot. They shoot the fugitive through the arm with a grappling hook. The fugitive looks at his arm, but doesn't seem injured. Tasker (Hamill) pulls on the rope now connected to the fugitive. He tumbles down the side of the canyon, but once again is not harmed.
They take the man prisoner and fly to an airstrip, where he stands beside them, handcuffed, as they eat in the airstrip's diner. A roguish young wanderer, Matt Owens (Paxton), makes a pass at Belitski and tries to sell illegal weapons to Tasker. It is then revealed that Tasker and Belitski are part of the remnants of a law enforcement agency, trying to keep the peace in what is left of society. Byron is wanted for murder, and they are bringing him to justice. Tasker seizes Owens' weapons and Belitski nearly breaks his arm. Later, as the cops are preparing to leave, Owens forces them to give up Byron and flees in his own plane, but not before Belitski shoots him with a dart, both poisoning him and planting a tracking device in his body. Owens then flies off "downstream", planning to turn Byron in to the authorities for a reward. Belitski and Tasker are in hot pursuit. The "futuristic aircraft" used by Tasker is the rare BROOKLAND AEROSPACE OPTICA OA7 also called the Edgley EA-7 Optica.
Owens and Byron land at the home of a cult of people that worship the Slipstream. After Byron heals a boy who was born blind, Owens knows that he is more than what he appears to be. It is then revealed by Byron that he is an android. When the wind cult finds out about Byron's abilities, they tie him to a massive kite, and let the wind decide what to do with him. The bounty hunters arrive in the middle of a windstorm, and Belitski and Owens are forced to work together to get Byron down. Belitski then allows Byron and Owens to get away, along with another visitor to the valley, a woman Ariel who has become very attached to Byron.
Ariel takes them to her home. She grew up with a group of hedonists, who inhabit an underground museum. Tasker and Belitski track the trio to the museum, which they storm. They kill the gate guards and some of its inhabitants. Tasker forces the rest to seek out Byron. Taken by surprise, Byron and Owens (who has just managed to persuade him to join him as an equal), Byron is seized and Owens floored. They leave and Belitski faces him holding a gun. Shooting him in the chest Owens punches her, almost knocking her out, but when she explains it was the antidote to the poison he realises his mistake. He handcuffs her to a bed while he sets off after Tasker with Belitski's shotgun. In the lobby Owens gets the drop on Tasker, but his aim is poor and his first shot goes wide. Ariel, not wanting a shootout stands between them both at the moment Tasker returns fire, accidentally hitting and killing Ariel. When Tasker kills Ariel, Byron sets out to kill him. Tasker, having made it back to his plane retrieves an assault rifle and shoots at Byron, to no effect. Tasker tries to flee in his plane, which Byron boards and crashes into a mountain. Tasker is killed, but Byron, being an android, is unharmed. He returns to the museum to find that Belitski and Owens have developed a budding romance. The film ends on a sanguine note. Byron hikes off by himself to look for some of his own kind he knows live in the mountains, while Owens and Belitski leave to open their own airstrip.
Despite a big name star like Hamill and a moderate budget, Slipstream flopped in theaters in the United Kingdom and was never shown in theaters in North America. The film grossed just $66,836 during its Australian theatrical run.
A DVD version of Slipstream, without any special features, was released on March 9, 2004.