Today, we admire the feats of highly bendable action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, who not only jumps back and forth in time but, as usual, also jumps with his kicks in the face in this spectacular 1994 sci-fi movie, Timecop.
It all starts on an ordinary peaceful day for Max Walker, a bold Washington cop married to the lovely Melissa.
Unfortunately, during the night, when duty calls to fill in for a colleague’s shift, a group of strangers surprises and beats him nearly to death, then blows up his house, killing his wife and even the baby she was expecting.
Ten years later, Max still has not forgotten the horrendous aggression, but he does a very different job, being one of the most valuable agents of the Time Enforcement Commission.
Indeed, after the discovery of time travel, a new breed of criminal has obviously emerged, taking advantage of it to commit robberies and murders throughout every era.
TEC tries to prevent these crimes by directly sentencing death when they catch the perpetrators until the cruel and ruthless Senator McComb takes advantage of the system.
McComb, driven by a desire for wealth and influence, prepares to campaign for the presidency, and Max and his associates provide an obstacle to his evil intentions.
This marks the beginning of a conflict in which there is no time limit or prohibited shots; however, our hero will also suddenly have another opportunity to save his wife’s life.
Classic style and mauling from the 90s
Peter Hyams, a cinematic industry veteran since the 1970s, confidently steers this exhilarating and furious fight/race through time.
Despite being frequently disregarded, this director has produced a plethora of triumphant action, adventure, and sci-fi flicks like Capricorn One, The Relic, or Outland, the latter being a thrilling space western starring Sean Connery.
Furthermore, it is worth noting 2010, which may have suffered in comparison to its highly acclaimed predecessor, 2001: A Space Odyssey by the legendary Stanley Kubrick.
Whether you enjoy any of these movies or not, Hyams is undoubtedly a director who knows how to entertain audiences while delivering top-tier cinema through his expertise as a cinematographer.
In this case, of course, the highlight is the strong Van Damme, a Belgian actor at the time at the height of his career, who relies on his muscles for the hard work of the story.
I’ve never read the original comic book of the same name, so I can’t say how faithful it is to the source; however, Timecop was undeniably a successful movie, grossing over $100 million worldwide in 1994.
A big hit, quickly explained in the simple but effective plot by screenwriters Mike Richardson and Mark Verheiden, bringing a good deal of fighting and shooting to the screen in just over an hour and a half.
The action scenes are virtually flawless, deftly framed by Hyams, who elaborates on some of the most spectacular choreographies of flying kicks and acrobatic splits we have ever seen Van Damme in.
Therefore, let us avoid examining the intricacies of plot gaps or space-time paradoxes and instead enjoy the show accompanied by Mark Isham‘s superb music, invigorating its characteristic 90s action atmosphere.
We no longer have time to travel through time?
As mentioned, as the protagonist, we have Jean-Claude Van Damme at the peak of his physical shape, under Hyams’ sinuous camera movements enriching athletic energy.
However, we must praise the actor for his appeal in this role, which consists not only of continuous action but also of some little private moments where Jean-Claude performs, in his eyes, believable grief for his dead wife.
For example, it is very touching when he watches a clip of his beloved, the beautiful and sweet Mia Sara, repeating her words by heart as if he has already painfully reviewed those scenes hundreds of times.
A quick and romantic scene, which sets up the contrasting following frantic action sequence, in which our hero confronts the thugs of the villainous senator (Ron Silver, badass and professional as ever) who broke into his flat while he was sleeping.
The duel between these men is the centerpiece of the whole story, with Van Damme holding the muscular supremacy while good old Silver towers, with his outstanding acting in a role, takes to the extreme the will of certain politicians being greedy and overbearing.
Finally, we recall in two small but crucial roles the excellent Bruce McGill as the TEC commander, always as likable as in the many character roles of his career, along with the young but fierce Gloria Reuben as the hero’s colleague/traitor.
A brief collaboration ends in an amusing fight, where Van Damme allows her to kick him repeatedly in the face because, like a good knight, he does not want to beat up a woman.
Since 1994, the old Timecop VHS was among the ones I’ve worn out the most, being a simple movie wholly ideal for what it wants to be: pure entertainment.