Directed by Peter Hyams
Expectations: JCVD is always a good time.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
If I could go back in time and tell my young self one thing, it would be to re-watch Timecop. I remember seeing Timecop when it was first released to VHS, and being very disappointed with it. I can’t remember why, but I know that my expectations were through the roof at the time. It’s a movie called Timecop for Christ’s sake, even then I was powerless against something so instantly enticing. But now after re-watching it, I don’t know what movie I watched back then, because I clearly should have loved this movie. It’s easily one of Van Damme’s best films, and while I won’t argue that it’s a great movie, it is definitely a great, stupid action movie.
That last sentence is a great example of how much my mindset has changed on films, and perhaps when I first saw it at around age 13, I had begun to lose the eyes of a child and had started to expect more from movies. It took me a while, but over the last couple of years while running this website, I have successfully regained my ability to just sit back and have a good time. I also think I disliked Timecop initially because of my undying love for Bloodsport. I don’t know how much I’ve talked about it here on Silver Emulsion, but I love Bloodsport more than most movies. If I were to make a Top 10 Favorite Films list, it’d definitely make the cut and be near the top, as there are few films I find as solidly entertaining as Bloodsport. I remember looking forward to each subsequent Van Damme release, hoping that one of them would reach the heights of Bloodsport. None ever did, although some, like Kickboxer, Hard Target, or Lionheart, satisfied me enough to make the grade as “awesome JCVD films.” So really I think it came down to me once again looking for another Bloodsport-quality experience and not finding it here. But enough about the me of nearly 20 years ago.
Timecop opens spectacularly in 1863, as a lone man holds up a Confederate gold delivery. You might think you started watching the wrong film, but then the robber opens his jacket and busts out two future-uzis to blast away the men before him. This eventually leads us to international superstar and martial arts sensation JCVD playing a timecop in the far-off year of 2004, 10 years after the introduction of time travel to the world. You might not remember the brains cracking that scientific holy grail, but that’s because the suits in Washington kept it behind closed doors and under the watchful eyes of JCVD and Bruce McGill.
Now say what you will about the plot and the questionable time travel logic, Timecop‘s story is actually still quite relevant in today’s world. The main drive of the story centers around an impending election and one of the candidates doing whatever he can to raise funds. He realizes that America has become a TV culture, and that the guy with his face out there the most will probably win the election. If only he’d waited a few years, corporations wouldn’t have had any restrictions on the amounts they could donate to his circuitous campaign. Although it didn’t work out for Mitt Romney, so theoretically it wouldn’t have worked for this devious asshole either. And I’m sorry, but when American politics start resembling the plot of a JCVD movie, the country’s in trouble (as if that wasn’t already apparent).
If you’re a fan of ’90s action or a JCVD fan (and why wouldn’t you be?), then I highly recommend you give Timecop another shot. It’s fun, and while its plot is a little convoluted, I give them high marks for attempting such a twisting time narrative in a JCVD movie. You have to fill in some of the gaps yourself, but that’s part of the fun of Timecop. Sit back and watch the explosive, time-traveling fun and forget everything else. And if nothing else, the film hammers home one incredibly important mantra should time travel ever become possible and readily available: “The same matter can’t occupy the same space.” Remember it, just in case.
Futures Passed continues tomorrow with a film documenting the year 2005, and what was going on high, high above us in space. Any guesses?