Turn back the clock, and you’re history
Director: Peter Hyams
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mia Sara, Ron Silver
Released: January 1995
Plot: Max Walker, an officer for a security agency that regulates time travel, must fend for his life against a shady politician who’s intent on changing the past to control the future.
For a sub-genre with so much potential, time travel films, since the year 2000, there have only been a handful that I have enjoyed enough to watch more than one, namely Safety Not Guaranteed, The Butterfly Effect and Source Code, all of which I would happily watch more than once, however, none of the films named above holds a candle to the great time-travel movies that came before, The Time Machine, The Terminator and to a lesser extent Peter Hyams’ martial arts extravaganza Timecop, which manages to be more than just another Jean-Claude van Damme film, with him round-house kicking his way through bad guys.
Hyams is no stranger to making sci-fi movies with Outland and The Star Chamber already under his belt, Timecop however, takes the action up a notch, carrying it on in his next film Sudden Death, which also starred Van Damme.
Providing an intriguing time travel story and entertaining throughout Hyams chooses wisely to spending too much time wayed down explaining the science behind travel or the rules, instead, focusing more on the action and the central plot, this makes for a better story as I for one would rather watch Van Damme in a high-octane fight scene rather than talking about the theories time-travel and physics.
Van Damme films tend to have great martial arts and Timecop is no different, in fact, I probably argue that this has the best fight scenes of his career. the highlight for me being the exciting knife fight in Max’s apartment.
I could also be argued that this is Van Damme’s best film in terms of plot and acting, narrowly topping both Legionnaire and JCVD, helped also by the strong supporting cast, especially Ron Silver as the crooked senator McComb.
This isn’t to say that the film isn’t a little dated and of its time, with the film set between 1994 and 2004, but still remains enjoyable and the makers managed to stay relatively restrained in terms of predicting what the future would be like, which most likely was due to the limited budget, but probably works in the films favour when re-watching the film today.
The plot to the film is relatively compact and continues to be solid enough, combining both sci-fi and martial arts action seamlessly.