Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz!
I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Peter Hyams” with a minor in “Movies Based on Comics”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week we’re sledding back in time with Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Timecop!
Ten years after the murder of his wife and unborn child, Max Walker is a veteran of the Time Enforcement Commission, a federal agency created by the U.S. Government to prevent the misuse of time travel technology. When Walker learns that one of the founders of the TEC, Senator McComb, is planning on exploiting it for personal gain Walker must use all of his skills to stop him. Can Max Walker and his new partner, Sarah Fielding, stop McComb, and even save Walker’s wife, before time runs out? From the Civil War to the 1929 Wall Street Crash, wherever and whenever there is time crime, just call the Timecop!
Based on the three-part comic book story from Dark Horse Comics from 1992, Timecop is a 1994 science-fiction, buddy-cop film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as Walker, Mia Sara as his wife Melissa, Ron Silver as Senator McComb, and Gloria Reuben as agent Fielding. Timecop has also spawned a second comic book series, a direct-to-DVD sequel (Timecop2: The Berlin Decision), a series of tie-in novels, and even a video game for the SNES. The director of Timecop, Peter Hyams, has worn many hats in the film industry including writer, cinematographer, producer, and director, though he is best known for directing and doing the cinematography for 2010, the completely forgettable and downright apologetic sequel to Stanley Kubric’s masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the words of Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader, “SF specialist Peter Hyams, doubling as usual as director and cinematographer, leaves his record for mediocrity unblemished in this silly time-travel tale.”
Just like the director, the plot of Timecop tries to do too many things and ends up failing at all of them. Every trope from a dozen different movie genres are crammed unceremoniously into the film along with a retinue of ridiculous and contradictory rules for time travel, including but not limited to:
- Only being able to go to the past and not the future because “the future hasn’t happened yet”, making us wonder how they’re supposed to get back to the future/present from the past.
- Time duplicates of people not being able to physically touch one another, else they forcibly combine like something out of a John Carpenter film.
- And of course, that in order to send someone back in time you have to strap them to a rocket sled which drives them towards a wall and disappears right before impact, then the passengers materialize in the past WITHOUT the sled. The only conclusion for us to make is that the TEC has to keep manufacturing these sleds only to vaporize them any time they want to time travel.
At least when we get to the past we are guaranteed plenty of faceless henchmen ass for Van Damme to kick.
Some random trivia for you:
While riding in the sled, which will transport him into the future, Jean-Claude Van Damme takes out a stick of Black Black chewing gum, a Japanese brand. During 1994, Van Damme appeared in television commercials for Black Black chewing gum in Japan.
Agent Walker always runs or is in fast motion (such as falling) when entering/exiting time. Senator McComb walks when entering/exiting time. This signifies that one has plenty of “time” and the other doesn’t.
Timecop remains Van Damme’s highest grossing film as a lead actor. With a budget of just under $30 million, Timecop grossed $44.8 million domestically and was the second of Van Damme’s films to break the $100 million barrier for a worldwide gross, the first being Last Action Hero, which he only had a cameo in. It is generally regarded as one of Van Damme’s better films by critics. That is to say, it is one of his least offensive roles. It is the refreshing C- in the unending morass of F’s and D’s.
Timecop has a 5.8, a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes, and no fewer than two front splits performed by JCVD himself. Empire Magazine calls it a “brainless romp,” Gene Siskel says that “Van Damme is compelling only when he takes his clothes off,” and Roger Ebert gives it 2 out of 4 stars saying, “’Timecop’, a low-rent ‘Terminator’ is the kind of movie best not thought about at all, for that way madness lies.”
But boy do we love it when Van Damme shows off those rippling leg muscles, don’t we?
This week we heartily invite you to take off your shirt, do a few splits, and court madness as we contemplate the space-time continuum! Maybe along the way we’ll also watch a really bad time travel movie!
The Supercult show proudly presents: Timecop!