Jean-Claude Van Damme is a lot more famous than any one of his films. A sort of nimbler version of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Muscles from Brussels transitioned from Mixed Martial Arts to movie stardom in the late 1980s, but while he quickly became a household name, he seldom managed to elevate beyond villain roles and B-movies. Timecop is probably his closest brush with genuine mainstream stardom.
Released in 1994, Timecop holds the distinction of having knocked Forrest Gump off #1 at the US Box Office. Grossing over $100 million worldwide, it remains Van Damme’s most profitable movie as a leading man.
He stars as the improbably named Max Walker, a law enforcement officer who specialises in hunting down ‘time criminals’ – individuals who use access to time travel technology to commit fraud, embezzlement and other nefarious acts. One such criminal turns out to be – shocker! – his former partner.
This revelation leads him into a fairly convoluted government conspiracy involving a crooked Senator played with scene-chewing relish by actor/activist Ron Silver. Oh, and did we mention that his entire house explodes, at least twice?
As that description probably implies, Timecop is pure hokum, but it’s also a lot of fun, provided you don’t think too much about whether anything about it actually makes any sense. Van Damme lacks Schwarzenegger’s easy charisma on screen, but his eye-popping flexibility and ability to rock a vaguely anachronistic mullet more than make up for it.
On this week’s podcast, we recap some of our highlights from the movie, including emergency splits, questionable hospital practices, a wife apparently suffering a severe case of facial blindness and much more. We also brainstorm some drinking games, check in with our listeners and pitch some sequel ideas – because the JCVD-free straight to DVD effort doesn’t count in our eyes!
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Next week, we’re jumping in our own time machine and heading back to 1984, and one of the most iconic teen movies of the decade. Until then, happy listening and remember – if you’re planning on jumping into a high-kick split, make sure you do your stretches first…