Newt Arnold, Peter Hyams
Jean-Claude Van Damme
TIMECOP - Jean-Claude Van Damme is a police officer tasked with patrolling time to make sure nobody creates a shitty alternate history.
Jean-Claude plays Frank Dux, a martial arts master and ultimate weapon for the US Army. He can't act but he's still strangely charming in the role (as long as you ignore the terrible wardrobe choices). The movie opens with a flashback to show how Frank got on the path to becoming a "round eye" martial arts master with aspirations of winning the "Kumite" (basically a human cock fighting tournament). In one of the worst bits of casting in any movie ever, young Jean-Claude is played by a kid already a few inches taller than adult Jean-Claude, with even less acting talent. From there we get one of the longest training montages ever put to film and we're finally ready to travel to Hong Kong for the Kumite.
While in Hong Kong, Frank meets another combatant in Kumite (Ogre from the REVENGE OF THE NERDS movies) and they become fast friends. With all that exposition out of the way, the movie opens up and becomes the bad-ass battle-to-the-death movie I was hoping for. Jean-Claude's main competition in the tournament is a crazy-eyed, ripped Asian dude named Chong Li. Chong Li kills fighters indiscriminately and is just kinda a dick. There's also a forced love story with a blond investigative reporter (how else are we going to see JCVD's nude ass?) and Forest Whitaker plays an Army Officer trying to get Frank back home safely.
At least forty-seven of the movie's ninety minute runtime is spent on closeups of everybody staring at each other. The director, Newt Arnold, seriously cannot go more than 20 seconds without making sure we're watching the characters watch what's going on in the movie. Taking a shot for each awkward 3 second stare would make for a hell of a drinking game. Despite all these superfluous shots, the fight scenes are still fantastic and overall, the movie is a nice way to kill ninety minutes if you can't sleep at night.
BLOODSPORT: 3 Stars
TIME COP is a convoluted mess of a movie that somehow turns out to be kinda fun. It's by no means a great flick but it has a crazy enough plot, a decent action scene or two and some great one liners that managed to hold my attention the whole way through.
Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a cop recruited by the government to police the past. Some bad guys (led by Ron Silver as an evil politician) got their hands on a time machine and are going back to mess everything up. They kill Jean-Claude's pregnant wife (Mia Sara) and the rest of the movie is a pretty basic cat-and-mouse-game but with time travel added into the mix.
Jean-Claude had yet to master acting and Mia Sara is equally bad but Ron Silver and everybody else are great within the confines of what they have to work with. The CGI and slow-jazz that square white people liked so much back then are classic 90s shit but the action scenes are all pretty good. There are some spectacular stunts and a well-executed knife fight (even if fights with 8-inch blades are by moronic by their very nature).
It's a time travel movie, so I went in expecting there to be some holes in the logic but TIMECOP was extra ridiculous. Apparently it takes enough electricity to power a city to go back in time but all you have to do to get back to the present is touch a button on a beeper. The "track" to take the time travel rocket back into the past is finite and far too short, so there's a running joke about people dying because of it. In the opening 1994 scenes Ron Silver is filmed as if he's the evilest motherf*cker in the world. You can tell he has a plan to use time travel for his own personal gain but somehow in every subsequent scene from later on in the 90s, he's a clueless ninny. There's absolutely no explanation for why he's evil, then clueless and then magically evil again and it's maddening.
And Jean-Claude - Dude, we get it already. You have a GREAT ass. Really, that thing is perfect. It's just, we've seen it before and that was enough. We're here to watch you kick people really hard in either the head, sternum or groin. It's hard to avoid showing your ass off while doing that but please cover up a little. At least you threw us all a bone this time and allowed Mia Sara's body to outshine yours.
TIME COP: 2.5 Stars