Time travel is a tricky subject to deal with in films. Most of these films are filled with plot holes and gaping logical leaps. "Timecop" is just as bad as some of the worst. Luckily, this action/sci fi flick has a few things that cover up these foundational flaws making it one of the best Van Damme films out there along with a pretty fun concept to play with. Should it even be as good as this? Hell no, but it is.
Max Walker (Van Damme with yet another cliche character name!) has just been offered a place in an elite policing force that was just created. It's jurisdiction? Time. With the development of time travel now being widely spread, these cops have to make sure that people don't go back in time and fuck up the present too much. When a series of violations seem to lead back to a Senator running for US President (Silver), Walker will have to go to some drastic measures to bring justice to the unjust. Including changing a past, that may even save his pregnant wife from an early grave.
When one looks at all the details and parts of "Timecop" it really shouldn't be as enjoyable (or as good) as it is. Van Damme gives one of his best performances here as the dark hearted cop with too many regrets to let go and the general story is enough to keep one locked in. It helps that the character arc for Damme is tied in directly to the plot which allows some nice emotional moments for a rather cliche comic adaption into an action movie.
The film is a bit cheesy at times, don't even try to take the cars in the future (which is 2004 by the way) seriously, and falls prey to its own quirks. Considering how dark some of the film is, these moments can be a bit out of place and not stand well in the general tone of the film. Damme's one liners, although funny, fall under these awkward moments and I would have wished they would have played it more seriously more often. This film could have more impact and risen above its stereotypes.
The action is pretty solid too with highlights coming in the form of a two Van Damme beat down in the rain at the end (although I wished they would have played this up even more like in Jackie Chan's "Twin Dragons" or something) and some rather fun sequences. It still loses some of its punch do to its over the top moments, the splits on the counter is memorable but rather odd, but its made up for with some rather interesting moments.
"Timecop" has no right to be as good or as fun as it is. As it stands, it may already be horribly dated with its plot and special effects, but it has a deeper story with a solid character that makes it a wee bit better than it should be. Still one of Van Damme's best and a fun action ride.
BONUS RANT: I love how when a movie hero has a dark past or gets a little edgy they grow out their hair longer. And in the early 90s they grow a mullet. Makes for a very humorous distinction between 'with wife Walker' and 'post wife Walker'.
Written By Matt Reifschneider