[Revisiting] Timecop



The anime re-watch got me thinking about revisiting a selection of films that I’ve not seen in ages, some good, some bad. One of the interesting things about this concept is the opportunity to see how each film holds up today and whether it’s actually as good as I remember or being viewed through rose-tinted glasses. Today’s movie is the time-travelling JCVD adventure – Timecop.

To warn, there’s likely to be spoilers ahead particularly for those that haven’t viewed.




Timecop is a typical 90s action film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as officer Max Walker who helps regulate time travel. I have vague memories of thinking it was quite clever at the time but also fun, which I was hoping to have again after re-watching it.

The film literally sets itself up to make no sense whatsoever, even by film standards. The basic plot follows The Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) who monitor time travel ensuring the law is upheld whatever time you might be in. Ten years after his wife’s murder Walker is sent through time to apprehend a former co-worker who is exploiting the past to make money.

With a story that is centred around this notion, I was expecting it to take a few liberties at least. While Timecop does try and establish logic, and to be fair it’s not just the time travel that’s as dumb, the whole film is idiotic and the dialogue is absolutely abysmal.

The talented Mia Sara is largely wasted as Walkers wife, she’s killed off early doors but not before a completely gratuitous sex scene to seemingly earn Van Damme the tortured backstory. What was probably done to make his character gruff and more serious is somewhat undone by his incessant quipping, which while amusing does little to convey gravitas. Also, his mullet is gloriously ridiculous. To top this off Walkers wife then factors back into the time travel gibberish later in the movie.

The special effects haven’t aged well. I guess that is to be expected from a 26-year-old film which I’d assume didn’t have the biggest budget, the upside to this is that there aren’t a huge number of effect shots. The action is amusingly over the top and you get to see some of the classic moves like Van Damme doing the splits which seemingly never gets old and the fact that the film takes itself so seriously actually makes it funnier.

Ron Silver as the villain is a definite plus point as he seems to be really enjoying himself and hams it up quite nicely while Bruce McGill gets some great lines as Van Damme’s put upon boss.

Timecop is still entertaining in spite of being stupid and, to be honest, quite generic. It’s oddly endearing for this though. Ultimately it was probably trash even back in the 90s but it has the good grace to be entertaining that is still easy to watch.


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