The film entitled Real Genius focuses on the activities of Chris Knight and takes place in an imaginary university of Pacific Tech. Chris is a very talented high school student who is carrying out research on a chemical laser. He devotes so much time and efforts into his project to make sure it is a success. A new student known as Mitch comes to school and the teachers ask him to join Chris so they can both work on the laser experiment. A group of agents from the Central Intelligence Agency gather to watch a short video about a very high ranking project known as the Crossbow. While watching the project, the agents share ideas and dispute so as to be able to identify the main purpose of its creation. They come to a conclusion that the project was developed so that it can be used for illegal murders but they are still to discover a suitable source of power for the project.
Professor Hathaway tells Mitch that he works alongside Chris at the Pacific Tech University. Mitch later finds out that Hathaway is actually the expert that the Criminal Intelligence Agency had recruited to manufacture the chemical laser but he had instead given the task to his students and used all the funds he received for the project to refurbish his house. Mitch reveals the secret to Chris but is disappointed when Chris acts indifferent. Mitch gets angry and teams up with Jordan and Lazlo and the three of them confront Hathaway. Hathaway then makes Mitch the head of the project to appease him and this leads to a series of fights and gossips between the Mitch and Fred. When Hathaway finds out he decides to punish Chris by taking him off the project and Chris on his part vows not to find a solution to the energy problem. The film continues as Hathaway and his team struggle with challenges.
The characters in the film include Val Kilmer starring as Chris, Gabriel Jarret starring as Mitch, Michelle Meyrink as Jordan, William Atherton as Prof. Hathaway, Jon Gries as Lazlo.