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A man holding a gun near his face. Below a figure stands against a octagonal shaped portal.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Hyams
Screenplay byMark Verheiden
Story by
Based on
  • Mike Richardson
  • Mark Verheiden
Produced by
CinematographyPeter Hyams
Edited bySteven Kemper
Music byMark Isham
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 16, 1994 (1994-09-16)
Running time
98 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$27-28 million[2][3]
Box office$101.6 million[3]

Timecop is a 1994 American 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 Timecop, 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. It is the first installment in the Timecop franchise.

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 corrupt politician and Mia Sara as Melissa Walker, the agent's wife. The story follows Walker's life as he fights time-travel crime and investigates the politician's plans.

Timecop remains Van Damme's highest-grossing film as a lead actor (his second to break the $100 million barrier worldwide). Although met with mixed reviews, it is generally regarded by critics as one of Van Damme's best films.


In 1863, Gainesville, Georgia, a time traveller with futuristic weapons slaughters five Confederate soldiers and steals their shipment of gold bullion.

In 1994, the Justice Department funds the creation of the clandestine Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) to combat the emerging threat of the past being altered following the invention of time travel technology by Dr. Hans Kleindast. Users are unable to travel to the future as it has not yet happened, but they can travel to and change the past, creating ripples through time that alter the present. Senator Aaron McComb volunteers to oversee the TEC and police officer Eugene Matuzak is assigned as the TEC's initial commissioner. Metropolitan Police Department officer Max Walker is offered a position at the TEC but before he can accept, he and his wife Melissa are attacked by unknown assailants; Walker is left for dead while Melissa is killed when their house explodes.

In 2004, veteran TEC agent Walker travels to 1929 to apprehend his former partner Lyle Atwood who is using future knowledge to profit from the stock market crash. Atwood confesses to working for McComb who is using his position to send subordinates through time to obtain funds for his failing presidential campaign. Fearing McComb will erase him and his family from history as a punishment, Atwood refuses to testify and is executed for his crimes by the TEC. During McComb's visit to the TEC, Walker infers his suspicions of McComb.

After surviving an ambush at his home by McComb's henchmen, Walker is assigned a new partner, Sarah Fielding. Walker and Fielding travel to 1994 to investigate a time disturbance and discover a younger McComb being bought out of a computer chip manufacturing company by his partner Jack Parker. The 2004 McComb arrives to prevent his 1994 self from accepting the deal, advising him the chip will soon be worth billions, and cautioning that they must not touch as the same matter cannot occupy the same space. McComb kills Parker and Fielding betrays and captures Walker, admitting she is in McComb's employ. In the ensuing shootout, McComb shoots Fielding and escapes to 2004.

Walker returns to a heavily altered future where McComb is a wealthy presidential frontrunner and has shut down the TEC to prevent further interference in his plans. Walker convinces Matuzak, who is oblivious to McComb's changes, that he and Walker were close friends. They deduce that McComb is using Kleindast's original time travel prototype and Matuzak helps send Walker back in time to restore history before being shot dead by McComb's guards. McComb concludes that Walker must be erased at a point before he ever joined the TEC to eliminate his interference.

Back in 1994, Walker finds Fielding recovering in a hospital. She agrees to testify against McComb but while Walker is erasing evidence of her treatment she is murdered; Walker discovers Melissa had been for treatment because she was pregnant. Realizing this is the day of her murder, Walker finds Melissa, reveals he is from the future, and convinces her to ensure his 1994 self does not leave that night for work. That night, the attackers, revealed to be McComb's henchmen, attack the younger Walker, but he and Melissa are able to fight them off with aid from the older Walker. The 2004 McComb arrives and takes Melissa hostage, confronting Walker with a C4 explosive. McComb accepts he will die in the explosion but Walker's death will mean McComb's younger self will become president unhindered. However, Walker reveals he has lured the 1994 McComb to the house and he pushes him into the older McComb, merging them into a writhing, screaming mass of flesh that then disappears. Walker carries Melissa out of the house before it is destroyed by the bomb, and places her beside his unconscious younger self.

Back in 2004, Walker finds that Matuzak and Fielding are alive and at the active TEC, while Senator McComb disappeared in 1994, erasing his future actions. Walker is taken to his still-intact house where he finds Melissa and his young son waiting for him.



Mike Richardson wrote a three-part story titled "Time Cop: A Man Out of Time" that was included in the launch of the Dark Horse Comics anthology series in 1992.[4] Richardson developed the story, while the comic was written by Mark Verheiden and drawn by Ron Randall. The comic told a story of Max Walker, a Time Enforcement Commission agent whose wife is implied to be dead (though the circumstances of this are unknown). Max pursues an illegal time traveler robbing a South African diamond mine in the 1930s. After capturing the robber and returning to present time, Walker realizes the timeline has been damaged because the criminal's robotic bodyguard remained in the past and was still active. Walker returns to the 1930s and defeats the robot with the help of a local whom he rewards with a diamond. Returning home, the timeline is largely restored but readers see the local became a political leader who helped end Apartheid.

Richardson and Verheiden then teamed up to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation.[4]

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.

— Peter Hyams, Empire Magazine[5]


The musical score of Timecop was composed by Mark Isham and conducted by Ken Kugler.


Track listing
  1. "Time Cop" – 2:20
  2. "Melissa" – 2:41
  3. "Blow Up" – 2:12
  4. "Lasers and Tasers" – 4:23
  5. "Polaroid" – 6:10
  6. "Rooftop" – 6:16
  7. "C4" – 2:37
  8. "Rescue and Return" – 3:22


Home media[edit]

Timecop was first released on VHS on February 21, 1995, LaserDisc on February 28, 1995,[6] and later released on DVD January 20, 1998. 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.


Box office[edit]

Timecop was released in the U.S. 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.[7][8] In its second week, it took the top spot again with $8,176,615.[9] It finished its run with $45 million in the U.S. In other territories, it grossed about $57 million, for a total worldwide gross of $101 million.[3] 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).

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 42% rating based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10. 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."[10] On Metacritic, it has a score of 48% based on reviews from 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[12]

Critics were mixed on Timecop, citing its various plot holes and inconsistencies.[13] Roger Ebert called Timecop a low-rent Terminator.[14] Richard Harrington of The Washington Post said, "For once, Van Damme's accent is easier to understand than the plot."[15] David Richards of The New York Times disparaged Van Damme's acting and previous films but called Timecop "his classiest effort to date".[16]

The film made Entertainment Weekly's "Underrated Films" list in November 2010, mostly because of Van Damme's acting.[17]


In September 1994, a novelization of the film was written by author S.D. Perry was published by Penguin.[18]

Sequel and franchise[edit]

The film was followed by a TV series of the same name, running for nine episodes in 1997 on ABC.[19] It starred T.W. King as Jack Logan and Cristi Conaway as Claire Hemmings.

A direct-to-DVD sequel, Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision, was released in 2003, starring Jason Scott Lee and Thomas Ian Griffith, and directed by Steve Boyum.[20] In 2010, Universal Pictures announced a remake of the film, to be written by Mark and Brian Gunn, but it was never made.[21][22][23]

The film, which was originally based on a comic, was adapted into a two-issue comic book series of the same name. A game based on the movie was developed by Cryo Interactive and released on the SNES in 1995.[24] Additionally, a series of tie-in novels by author Dan Parkinson published in 1997–1999 featured the Jack Logan character from the television series.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "TIMECOP (18)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Van Damme very determined". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
  3. ^ a b c "Timecop (1994)". The Numbers. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Cohen, Jason (2017-04-20). "15 Adaptations More Famous Than The Original Comics". CBR.com. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
  5. ^ "Directors Special: Peter Hyams Goes Film-By-Film". Empire Magazine. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  6. ^ "LaserDisc Database - Timecop [42242]".
  7. ^ Dutka, Elaine (1994-09-20). "Weekend Box Office : An Arresting Opening for TimeCop". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-12-18. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  8. ^ Kleid, Beth (1994-09-26). "MOVIES". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
  9. ^ Kleid, Beth (1994-09-26). "MOVIES 'Timecop' on Top: It's "Timecop" time again". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  10. ^ "Timecop (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  11. ^ "Timecop". Metacritic.
  12. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  13. ^ "A Giant Leap For Van Damme In 'Timecop'". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on 2011-01-09. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
  14. ^ Roger Ebert (1994-09-16). "Timecop". Chicago Sun-Times. RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 2022-02-09.
  15. ^ ""Timecop" reviewed by Richard Harrington". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2021-10-12.
  16. ^ Richards, David (1994-09-04). "FILM; Jean-Claude Van Damme, the, uh, Actor?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
  17. ^ Connolly, Kelly. "12 Underrated Movie Gems". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2018-11-01. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
  18. ^ "Timecop by S.D. Perry". Thriftbooks. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  19. ^ Lowry, Brian (1996-10-25). "ABC Invests $15 Million in 'Timecop'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2010-10-23. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
  20. ^ "Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision". Cinefantastique. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  21. ^ Wigler, Josh. "'TimeCop' Reboot In The Works, Jean-Claude Van Damme 'Won't Be Invited Back'". Archived from the original on September 21, 2010.
  22. ^ "Universal Plans 'Timecop' Reboot (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 22 May 2013.
  23. ^ "'Timecop' Reboot Snags 'Journey 2' Writers (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 2014-04-09. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  24. ^ "Timecop". MobyGames. Retrieved 2010-11-28.

External links[edit]