Based on the Dark Horse comic book series, this fast paced action, sci-fi movie presents a special police officer’s attempt to foil a corrupt politician who stole equipment that enables him to travel through time.
Timecop represents one of Jean Claude Van Damme’s best movies, but not because of his acting abilities. Credit a good supporting cast and a quick story with some great action surprises. Van Damme plays Officer Max Walker, law enforcer for the Time Enforcement Commission (TEC). Walker must stop the swarthy Senator McComb (Ron Silver) from manipulating the U.S. government through time travel. McComb even pursues the U.S. Presidency by stealing money through illegal time activities.
Van Damme kicks his way through a well written plot and finds new ways to utilize his leg splits, but still can not act well dramatically during some tragic events that involve his own future. Standard action dialogue like “Whoa, that’s gonna hurt” make up too of Van Damme’s dialogue.
Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) performs well as Max’s wife, Melissa, but get stuck in a cliched role as the woman who gets caught in the middle of the hero’s plight and eventually needs rescued. Gloria Rueben (TVs ER) plays a key role in the story as one of Max’s fellow officers involved in the law enforcement of time travel.
Director Peter Hyams (End of Days, The Relic) does a solid job of filming except for a few moments of noticeable camera shaking. Hyams also directed Van Damme in the hockey actioner Sudden Death which quickly demised at the box office when it didn’t reach its full potential (the late year release date probably didn’t help either).
Washington D.C. constitutes the main setting, but various time travelers journey to various locations and places in time.
The inventive action sequences have some surprises that make the inevitable showdown more exciting. Ending dramatic themes, like spending time with the people you love, are unfortunately weakened by Van Damme’s limited acting ability.
The last action sequence was a bit long, but was purposely extended for dramatic effect. Timecop has good closure (complete explanation of all elements/events presented) which is rare for most action entertainment because moviemakers tend to focus on the action instead of the story.
A satisfying watch for action fans and Van Damme enthusiasts that’s recommended with reservations (**1/2 out of four stars). Catch an informal plug for “Black Black” Japanese gum as Max sits in one of the time machines (Van Damme did a commericial for the product in Japan). A Timecop mini TV series aired in 1997 and another film is currently in development.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler