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.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Hyams|
|Screenplay by||Mark Verheiden|
|Edited by||Steven Kemper|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$101.6 million|
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), becoming a cult classic with fans. Although met with mixed reviews, it is generally regarded by critics as one of Van Damme's better films.
In 1994, the Justice Department sends George Spota to the Senate Appropriations Committee for approval on a secret project: the establishment of the Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) with the sole purpose of policing time travel. While initially dismissive, Spota convinces them of both the viability and danger of the technology, showing them evidence that changes (ripples) have already begun manifesting, evidenced by arms trafficking shipments paid in gold bullion stolen from the Confederate Army. Senator Aaron McComb volunteers to chair the oversight committee and Eugene Matuzak is nominated as the TEC's first commissioner. Later that day, DC Metro Police officer Max Walker is offered a position with the TEC but debates whether to accept it. That night, he receives an emergency call and is ambushed while leaving home; he and his wife, Melissa, are viciously attacked by unknown assailants. Max witnesses the house explode, killing Melissa inside.
Ten years later, Walker is a veteran of the TEC, which sends him back to October 1929 to prevent his former partner, Lyle Atwood, from using knowledge of the future to financially benefit from the U.S. stock market crash. When confronted, Atwood admits to working for Senator McComb, who is abusing his position and access to time travel technology to raise funds for his upcoming presidential campaign. Fearing McComb will erase him from history, Atwood jumps to his death, but Walker catches him mid-leap and returns them both to 2004. Refusing to testify, Atwood is sentenced to execution and is returned to 1929 where he completes his fatal fall. While both Walker and Matuzak agree that McComb is a criminal, Atwood's refusal to cooperate stalls their investigation until they can gather solid evidence.
Under investigation from Internal Affairs, Walker is assigned a new partner, TEC rookie Sarah Fielding, and together they are sent back to 1994 to investigate McComb. They witness a meeting between 1994 McComb and his business partner Jack Parker, where McComb wishes to withdraw over a disagreement about a new computer chip. They are interrupted by the 2004 McComb, who advises his younger self the chip will become highly profitable. The older McComb specifically warns his younger self that they must not touch because the same matter cannot occupy the same space, then kills Parker. Fielding turns on Walker, revealing she works for McComb. After a shootout with McComb's henchmen, Fielding is wounded and Walker escapes back to 2004.
Walker arrives in an altered future where McComb is now wealthy and a presidential front runner, using his position as a Senator to shut down the TEC. Walker appeals to Matuzak, who has no knowledge of the changes in history and disbelieves any 'ripples' occurred. The two realize that the original time machine prototype was never dismantled and that McComb has access to it, giving him the means and position necessary to neutralize the TEC. Realizing Walker may be right, Matuzak sends him back to the past to restore history, sacrificing himself in the process as he is shot by agents of the now-corrupt TEC.
Back in 1994, Walker finds Fielding in the hospital. She agrees to testify against McComb, but is murdered in her room shortly thereafter. While at the hospital, Walker finds a record of a recent visit by his wife Melissa, discovering she was pregnant. Realizing she will be killed later that night, he finds her and reveals himself to be from the future. She agrees to make sure the 1994 Walker stays home that night.
That night, the 1994 Walker is attacked just as before, the assailants being in McComb's employ, but is unknowingly aided by his older self who has been lying in wait. With the assailants defeated, the 2004 McComb steps in and takes Melissa hostage, confronting the older Walker with the bomb that will blow up the house. McComb knows he will now also die in the ensuing explosion, but is satisfied his younger self will survive and become president with Walker gone. However, Walker reveals he lured the 1994 McComb to the house, who enters the room. Walker pushes the two McCombs together and they merge into a writhing, screaming mass before disappearing from existence forever. The 2004 Walker escapes with Melissa before the bomb explodes and leave her beside his unconscious younger self before returning to the future.
Returning to 2004, Walker finds the future changed once again. Both Matuzak and Fielding are alive, with the TEC at full strength; according to history, Senator McComb disappeared in 1994, preventing the compromise of the TEC and Fielding's corruption. Walker returns home to find Melissa alive and waiting for him with their young son.
- 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
- Callum Keith Rennie as Stranger
- Steven Lambert as Lansing
- Richard Faraci as Cole
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. 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.
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
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
- "Hambone" – 5:13
- "C4" – 2:37
- "Rescue and Return" – 3:22
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.
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 45% and 5.24/10 average rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 44 reviews, with 20 fresh reviews and 24 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." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
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. In 2010, Universal Pictures announced a remake of the film, to be written by Mark and Brian Gunn.
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. Additionally, a series of tie-in novels by author Dan Parkinson published in 1997–1999 featured the Jack Logan character from the television series.
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