Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Hyams|
|Produced by||Moshe Diamant
|Screenplay by||Mark Verheiden|
|Story by||Mike Richardson
|Starring||Jean-Claude Van Damme
|Music by||Mark Isham
|Edited by||Steven Kemper|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures
Warner Home Video
Timecop is a 1994 science fiction action film directed by Peter Hyams and co-written by Mike Richardson and Mark Verheiden. Richardson also served as executive producer. The film is based on Time Cop, a story written by Verheiden and drawn by Phil Hester and Chris Warner which appeared in the anthology comic Dark Horse Comics, published by Dark Horse Comics.
The film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as a police officer in 1994 and a U.S. Federal agent in 2004, when time travel has been made possible. It also stars Ron Silver as a rogue politician and Mia Sara as the agent's wife. The story follows an interconnected web of episodes in the agent's life (or perhaps lives) as he fights time-travel crime and investigates the politician's unusually successful career.
Timecop remains Van Damme's highest grossing film (his second to break the $100 million barrier for a worldwide gross) as a lead actor. It is generally regarded as one of Van Damme's better films by critics.
In 1863, Confederate soldiers are carrying a gold bullion as a payday for the army. Suddenly, they are cornered and shot by a highwayman using anachronistic machine pistols and futuristic tech equipment, leaving them stranded and dead before suddenly vaporizing into the mist.
131 years later, the U.S. government creates the Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) to combat the misuse of newly developed time travel technology. They have discovered that the same gold bullion was used in recent arms purchases. Senator Aaron McComb (Silver) volunteers to oversee the commission, and a short time later, police officer Max Walker (Van Damme) is offered a job as a TEC agent. Later that evening, Max is attacked in his home by intruders and his wife Melissa (Sara) is killed in an explosion.
Ten years later, Walker is now a veteran TEC Agent. He is sent back to 1929, in the midst of the Wall Street crash to arrest his former partner Atwood (Jason Schombing) for taking advantage of the U.S. stock-market crash. Atwood reveals that he is working for McComb, who needs money for his presidential campaign. Terrified by McComb's threat to murder his ancestors, thereby wiping out his existence, Atwood tries to kill himself by jumping out a window. Walker catches him as he falls and takes him back to 2004, but Atwood refuses to testify against McComb and the TEC agency sends him back to 1929, right where he left off, this time falling to his death.
Walker is partnered with agent Fielding (Gloria Reuben), and sent back to 1994, where they find a young Senator McComb arguing with Jack Parker about their company's new computer chip. Parker offers to buy McComb's share of the company, but suddenly, the older McComb arrives from 2004 to warn his younger self that the chip will make huge profits. A fight starts when Walker is double-crossed by Fielding, who reveals she works for McComb. McComb kills Parker, wounds Fielding, attempts to kill Walker, and manages to escape back to 2004.
When Walker returns to 2004, he finds that things have become worse. McComb owns the computer company, with no record of Parker. He is almost guaranteed the Presidency with his finances and approval rating. The TEC is being shut down due to budget cuts. There is also no record of Fielding. Realizing that he has to fix things, Walker hijacks the original prototype time machine (which McComb had been using for their illegal trips) with the help of Matuzak, who sacrifices himself when McComb's men try to stop Walker from escaping.
Finding himself once more in 1994, Walker finds Fielding in the hospital, where she agrees to testify against McComb. Whilst trying to find Fielding's DNA from a blood sample in the lab, Walker finds a sample of Melissa's blood and it indicates she is pregnant. Walker realizes her death occurred later that night, and he decides to stop it. After going back to Fielding's room, he discovers that she has been murdered and he is framed as the prime suspect. He goes to the mall where he and Melissa met that night. Eventually Max finds her and manages to convince her he is from the future, but does not tell her of her impending death.
That evening, McComb's thugs break into Walker's home, like before, only this time the older Walker is waiting for them. Without his younger self realizing it, the older Walker helps to fight off the thugs, though the younger Walker is wounded. McComb appears and takes Melissa hostage. He goes on to explain to Walker that he was behind Melissa's murder, though the younger Walker was the actual target because the older Walker had been interfering with his plans. As before, McComb sets a time bomb; though he will also die in the explosion, his younger self will survive and go on to claim the Presidency when the time comes. The young McComb then appears, having been tricked into coming by a false message sent by Walker. In the ensuing scuffle, McComb shoots Melissa, but Walker pushes the young McComb into the older one, causing them to become a writhing, screaming mass that melts into nothingness, destroying McComb once and for all. Walker barely manages to escape the house with Melissa before the explosion, and lays her body beside the young Walker.
Walker returns to 2004, where he finds the timeline has been changed once again, this time for the better. The TEC still exists, Fielding and Matuzak are alive, and McComb does not exist, having "vanished" ten years earlier. As Walker returns home, he is happily shocked to find Melissa alive and their 9-year-old son waiting to greet him. Melissa has something to announce to Walker, implying that she is pregnant again.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme as Max Walker
- Mia Sara as Melissa Walker
- Ron Silver as Sen. Aaron McComb
- Bruce McGill as Com. Eugene Matuzak
- Gloria Reuben as Sarah Fielding
- Scott Bellis as Ricky
- Jason Schombing as Lyle Atwood
- Scott Lawrence as George Spota
- Kenneth Welsh as Sen. Utley
- Brad Loree as Reyes
- Kevin McNulty as Jack Parker
- Gabrielle Rose as Jdg. Marshall
- Steven Lambert as Lansing
Hyams later recalled:
It wasn’t at all planned from the beginning that I would make two films with Jean-Claude Van Damme back-to-back. I was approached to do Timecop, and I loved the auspices. (Producer) Larry Gordon was involved with it; Moshe Diamant was a terrific producer; Sam Raimi was involved... It was a really clever story, and I thought it was a chance to make the best movie Van Damme ever made. I said yes and we made it, and it was clear that it was going to be a hit because it previewed through the roof every time. It’s still his biggest hit. So Universal and Moshe Diamant wanted to team us again as soon as possible, so they put Sudden Death together. There was never any question that we would just do Timecop 2. I would never have agreed to that. The last thing you want to do is repeat yourself. That would be awful.
Timecop was released on September 16, 1994, where it opened at the number 1 spot with $12,064,625 from 2,228 theaters and a $5,415 average per theater. In its second week, it took the top spot again with $8,176,615. It finished its run with $45 million in total U.S. overseas, it grossed about $57 million, with a total gross of $101 million. This makes it Van Damme's highest-grossing film in which he starred, and his second to make over $100 million (after Universal Soldier).
Critics were mixed on Timecop, citing its various plot holes and inconsistencies. Roger Ebert called Timecop a low-rent Terminator. Richard Harrington of The Washington Post said, "For once, Van Damme's accent is easier to understand than the plot." David Richards of The New York Times disparaged Van Damme's acting and previous films but called Timecop "his classiest effort to date". Timecop currently holds a 43% rating and average rating 5.2/10 on Rotten Tomatoes based on 40 reviews with 17 fresh reviews and 23 rotten. The site's consensus is: "It's no Terminator, but for those willing to suspend disbelief and rational thought, Timecop provides limited sci-fi action rewards."
The musical score of Timecop was composed by Mark Isham and conducted by Ken Kugler.
- "Time Cop" – 2:20
- "Melissa" – 2:41
- "Blow Up" – 2:12
- "Lasers and Tasers" – 4:23
- "Polaroid" – 6:10
- "Rooftop" – 6:16
- "C4" – 2:37
- "Rescue and Return" – 3:22
Home media release
Timecop was released on DVD in 1998. Two separate versions were released, a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen edition and a fullscreen edition. The widescreen release is identified with the title on the front cover having green lettering, whereas the fullscreen is red and white.
The DVD extras include production notes, a theatrical trailer and notes on the cast and crew.
By 2010, the rights to the film had reverted to Largo successor InterMedia, and distribution shifted to Warner Home Video. A Blu-ray of the film was released as a double feature for both this and Bloodsport from Warner Home Video on September 14, 2010, which has the full uncut 98-minute version in 2.35:1 widescreen, but no extra features.
The film, which was originally based on a comic, was adapted into a two-issue comic book series.
- A game based on the movie was developed by Cryo Interactive and released on the SNES in 1995.
- A series of tie-in novels by author Dan Parkinson published in 1997–1999 featured the Jack Logan character from the television series.
- A TV version of the same name was spun off, running for nine episodes in 1997 on ABC. It starred T.W. King as Jack Logan and Cristi Conaway as Claire Hemmings.
- Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision, a direct-to-DVD sequel was released in 2003, starring Jason Scott Lee and Thomas Ian Griffith, and directed by Steve Boyum.
- In 2010, Universal announced a reboot of the film, with Marc Shmuger producing alongside Tom McNulty and Mark & Brian Gunn writing.
- "Van Damme very determined". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- "Peter Hyams Film by Film" Empire Magazine accessed 30 July 2014
- "Weekend Box Office : An Arresting Opening for TimeCop". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- Kleid, Beth (1994-09-26). "MOVIES". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- Kleid, Beth (1994-09-26). "MOVIES 'Timecop' on Top: It's "Timecop" time again.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- "A Giant Leap For Van Damme In `Timecop'". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
- "Roger Ebert review of ''Timecop''". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 1994-09-16. Retrieved 2011-02-09.
- Richards, David (1994-09-04). "FILM; Jean-Claude Van Damme, the, uh, Actor?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "12 Underrated Movie Gems". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
- "Timecop". Moby Games. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- Lowry, Brian (1996-10-25). "ABC Invests $15 Million in 'Timecop'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- "Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision". Cinefantastique. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- Wigler, Josh. "'TimeCop' Reboot In The Works, Jean-Claude Van Damme 'Won't Be Invited Back'".
- Universal Plans 'Timecop' Reboot (Exclusive)
- "'Timecop' Reboot Snags 'Journey 2' Writers (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
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