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 rogue politician and Mia Sara as Melissa Walker, the agent's wife. The story follows an interconnected web of episodes in the agent's life as he fights time-travel crime and investigates the politician's plans.
By the year 1994, time travel has been developed and is used for illicit purposes. The Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) has been established to police the use of time travel, with Senator Aaron McComb overseeing operations and financing. Police officer Max Walker has been offered a position with the TEC but is unsure whether or not to accept. While at home with his wife Melissa, he is attacked by unknown assailants and witnesses the house explode, killing her.
Ten years later, Walker is a veteran of the TEC working under Commissioner Eugene Matuzak, who 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 be working for Senator McComb, who needs the funds for his upcoming presidential campaign. Fearing that McComb will erase him from history, Atwood attempts to jump to his death, but Walker catches him mid-leap and returns to 2004. Refusing to testify, Atwood is sentenced to execution and is returned to 1929 where he resumes falling to his death.
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 young 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 older McComb, who arrives from 2004 to stop the exchange claiming the chip will become highly profitable. Older McComb specifically tells his younger self not to touch him as the same matter cannot occupy the same space, and then kills Parker. Fielding turns on Walker, revealing that she works for McComb, and after a shootout with McComb's henchmen, Fielding is wounded and Walker escapes back to 2004.
Walker returns to the TEC to find the future altered. McComb is now sole owner of the computer company and is a presidential front runner while the TEC is being shut down due to budget cuts. Walker appeals to Matuzak, who has no knowledge of the alternate present. Matuzak sends Walker back to the past in a prototype time machine, sacrificing himself in the process.
Back in 1994, Walker finds Fielding in the hospital and after interrogation she agrees to testify against McComb, though she is murdered in her room shortly thereafter. While at the hospital, Walker finds a record of a recent visit by his wife Melissa, discovering that she was pregnant. Realizing that she would be killed later that night, he tracks her down and reveals himself to be from the future.
That night, the younger Walker returns home and is attacked just as before, with the assailants revealed to be in McComb's employ, but is unknowingly aided by his older self who has been lying in wait. With the assailants defeated, the older McComb steps in and takes Melissa hostage, confronting the older Walker with the bomb. McComb reveals that he sent the assassins back to kill the younger Walker, and even though he will die in the ensuing explosion, his younger self will survive and become President with Walker gone. Walker, however, reveals that he had previously lured the younger McComb to the house, who enters the room. After McComb wounds Melissa, Walker pushes the two McCombs together and, as the same matter cannot occupy the same space, they merge into a liquefied mass before disappearing from existence forever. Walker escapes with Melissa before the bomb explodes and lays her down beside his unconscious younger self before returning to the future.
Back in 2004, Walker finds the timeline has changed for the better. Matuzak and Fielding are alive and active in the TEC, whereas McComb no longer exists. 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
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 in pursuit of an illegal time traveler robbing a South African diamond mine in the 1930s. After capturing the robber and returning to present time, Walker is sent back to the mine to stop the criminal's personal robotic bodyguard, which is still operational and wreaking havoc in the timeline.
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.
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 43% and 5.2/10 average rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 40 reviews, with 17 fresh reviews and 23 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."
The film made Entertainment Weekly's "Underrated Films" list in November 2010, mostly because of Van Damme's acting.
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
Timecop was released on DVD in 1998. Two separate versions were released, a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen edition and a fullscreen edition. The widescreen release is identified with the title on the front cover having green lettering, whereas the fullscreen is red and white.
The DVD extras include production notes, a theatrical trailer and notes on the cast and crew.
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.
The film was followed by a TV series of the same name, running for nine episodes in 1997 on ABC. It starred T.W. King as Jack Logan and Cristi Conaway as Claire Hemmings.
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.