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|
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 created by Richardson, written by Verheiden, and drawn by Ron Randall, which appeared in the anthology comic Dark Horse Comics, published by Dark Horse Comics.
The film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as Max Walker, a police officer in 1994 and later 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 as he fights time-travel crime and investigates the politician's plans.
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.
By 1994, time travel has been discovered and used for illicit purposes. The U.S. government creates the Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) to police the use of time travel. Senator Aaron McComb offers to oversee the commission. Police officer Max Walker is offered a position in TEC which he takes. When he returns home that evening to tell his wife Melissa the news, he is attacked by unknown assailants and thrown out of his house. He recovers just as his house explodes, killing Melissa.
Ten years later, Walker remains a TEC agent. TEC's supervisor, Commissioner Eugene Matuzak, orders him to stop his former partner Atwood from making money illegally on the U.S. stock market crash in 1929. In the past, when Walker arrests him, Atwood admits he was doing this for McComb, who is seeking funds for his upcoming presidential run. Atwood, fearing that McComb will kill his ancestors and erase him from history, attempts to jump to his death, but Walker catches him and returns with him to 2004. Atwood refuses to testify, and they are forced to return him to 1929 in his mid-leap, and Atwood dies from the impact.
Matuzak assigns Walker a new partner, Sarah Fielding, and told to investigate McComb in 1994. There, they find McComb ready to sell off his share of a computer chip company to his partner Parker. Suddenly, McComb from the future arrives. Warning his younger self not to touch him, the older McComb tells his younger self to keep his shares as the company will be highly profitable. Parker, shaken by the two McCombs, panics, leading the older McComb to shoot and kill him. In the chaos, Fielding reveals she is a double agent working for McComb. A fight breaks out, with the older McComb wounding Fielding and barely missing Walker; the older McComb disappears to the future. Walker escapes and returns to 2004, finding that the future has drastically changed: buoyed by sole ownership of the chip company, McComb has financially secured his presidency, and the TEC division is about to be closed down due to budget constraints. Walker explains the situation to Matuzak, who is unaware of the change but agrees to help. They hijack the prototype time machine, which they learn McComb had been using. Matuzak stays behind and sacrifices himself to man the controls to send Walker back in time moments before McComb's guards kill him.
Back in 1994, Walker attempts to interrogate Fielding who is a patient in a hospital. While there, he finds documents on Melissa's recent visit, learning she is pregnant. He realizes that this will be the night she dies. When Walker returns to Fielding, she has been murdered by a lethal injection. With no other leads, he tracks down Melissa, convinces her he is from the future, and warns her about the upcoming night.
When the younger Walker returns home, he again is attacked, but his attackers, men in McComb's employ, are defeated by the older Walker who had been waiting in ambush. The older McComb appears and takes Melissa hostage while setting up a time bomb intending to separate every part of Walker from every other part of him forever. He explains that because of Walker's interference in the future, he decided to get rid of the younger version of Walker; even though he will die from the bomb his younger self will still take the presidency in time with Walker gone. The older Walker reveals he planned this, having lured the younger version of McComb to the house. Walker throws the younger McComb at the older one, who fires off a shot and wounds Melissa. The two McCombs suddenly fuse turning into a withering mass before disappearing. Walker escapes the house with Melissa before the bomb goes off, and sets her body next to his younger self. He then returns to the future.
Walker finds the timeline has been changed, 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.
- 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 the U.S. Overseas, it grossed about $57 million, for a total gross of $101 million. This makes it Van Damme's highest-grossing film in which he played the leading role, and his second to make over $100 million overall (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 holds a 43% and 5.2/10 average rating 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 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.
- A series of tie-in novels by author Dan Parkinson published in 1997–1999 featured the Jack Logan character from the television series.
- 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.
- "Van Damme very determined". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- "Peter Hyams Film by Film", Empire Magazine, accessed 30 July 2014
- Dutka, Elaine (1994-09-20). "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.
- Connolly, Kelly. "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. 2014-04-09. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
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