7.15.2015

Timecop

Sort of futury guns here I come.
"Turn back the clock, and you're history."

Hi friends, welcome back to the Tagline, where there's never enough time to watch all the cut-rate movies I would really like to. Last week we went on a journey through time, into the future, where it seems inevitable that no matter what we do we'll be forced to do battle with Matt Smith and an army of laser robots. This got me thinking about difficult time situations, and naturally that led me to a path that ended at Jean-Claude Van Damme's doorstep. As such, today we will explore the many splendid wonders the the 1994 classic Timecop, a film that critics raved "was no Terminator, but for those willing to suspend disbelief and rational thought, Timecop provides limited sci-fi action rewards." Now if you can't get really excited about a movie with an awesome line like THAT riding on its back, you must not have a pulse! Seriously though, I think that critics are being a little unfair here. Sure, Van Damme has what could be described as a tenuous grasp on the English language, and I will GRANT that he cannot act worth a Jean-Claude God Damme. All of those things are true. Also true is that in the same year, Mr. Van Damme appeared in the cinematic fuckfest that was Street Fighter, so maybe that can help you put Timecop into perspective (though I will also grant that in 1994 there were lots of fantastic movies, but none about time travel!). Regardless of what the critics thought, I can still enjoy a bad movie, and I've seen worse movies that did involve as much cool high-kicking. SO LET'S GET LOST IN TIME.

Man remember when we all drove these in 2004?
This movie was, I did not realize at the time, actually based on a Dark Horse comic, but I suppose everything is based on a comic, either secretly or now, in the future, very publicly. Timecop takes place in the distant future year of 2004 Max Walker is a officer for the TEC (Time Enforcement Commission), a government agency created to prevent criminals from travelling through time to do bad time stuff, like steal confederate gold and use it to buy nuclear bombs. Ten years earlier, when the program was started (so in this world time travel was invented in 1994) Max's wife was murdered, but he was never really clear as to why. When Walker apprehends a former co-worker in the 1920s who is supposedly there working for a senator involved in the TEC program, things start to get ugly. I know, who would have ever thought that a bunch of senators on a sub-committee couldn't be trusted to safeguard the world from time travelling crimes? I certainly trust anyone who is shifty looking and seems to be constantly berating his subordinates/brutalizing them in a self driving car. Sure he wants to kill me and maybe killed my wife, but I'm sure its for the good of America. Anyway senator assface Mccomb is really sick of this French guy named Max Walker constantly being in his American way, and so starts cooking up time ways to get rid of him, preferably involving time travel, because competent hit men evidently don't exist in the futurepast.

Look at those sweet effects.
So the thing you have to understand about the plot of Timecop is that, unlike last week's Terminator, which has SOME weak areas/plot holes, this movie is essentially made out of those. I mentioned before that time travel is tricky, and this movie proves that, by playing by a set of arbitrary rules that only ever seem to apply when it is convenient for the political sci-fi B movie plot. The logic that allows characters to be doing stuff in the past that changes the future almost always results in a situation where that person shouldn't be there in the first place, but that never seems to happen. There is essentially no way to justify this, and the movie never even really tries. So long as you don't actually stop to think about it too hard, this is usually okay. Time travel is simply the vehicle by which Van Damme's kicks are delivered to bad guys throughout history, although honestly for a movie about time travel they spend most of their time hanging out in places that all look more or less like the 90s (I suppose that's fair when you have a kind of smallish budget). The movie also sports some of the most ridiculously "futuristic" cars that you could hope to see, I'm not sure why weird asymmetrical shapes like the surface of a star destroyer is a sign of being futuristic, but I don't think that the future is going to look like a monochrome version of Tetris, as played by someone who sucks at Tetris.

This could all be yours.
Even though it is pretty bad, I still like Timecop because it's also fun. It changes history, but only in ways that seem to directly influence the life of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Mia Sara gets blown up. Van Damme does a split on his kitchen counter in his underwear. This is quality, family friendly entertainment at its very best people. Also there is this REALLY cool guy, who is clearly the inspiration for how Ninja from Die Antwoord dresses. He has a super cool hair cut and also neato... shinguards I guess. You'll know him when you see him. Timecop is not the greatest thing that happened in 1994, but I would still stay it's worth a watch if only for the super 90s effect of a guy melding into himself and dissolving into a gross blob.

That's it for today! Join me again next week folks!

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