Time may not be cyclical, but you can count on one thing: every month, except when I don't feel like it or I forget to update my Netflix queue, you'll get a dose of Big Awful Friday.
In a coincidence that makes me look much more clever than I really am, 1994's Timecop is directed by Peter Hyams -- the same man who headed A Sound of Thunder, the movie that inspired this month of chrono-hopping.
Time-travel has become reality. After the mysterious murder of his wife, Jean-Claude Van Damme throws himself into his job making sure no one alters the past for their own gain. In the course of his duties, he learns Ron Silver -- the senator who oversees Van Damme's department -- has been exploiting the past to fund his campaign for president.
Structurally, Timecop is an odd movie. Van Damme learns about Silver's scheme early on, leaving him with little to do besides A) grumble about his witnesses being killed and B) the splits. Oh yeah, and getting chased around by a classic Early '90s Goon.
Early '90s action movies are so deep in my wheelhouse they've killed the pilot and put on his little pilot cap. Among the standout qualities of such films as Demolition Man and Super Mario Bros. is a shared love of dressing their thugs in the least intimidating style possible.
Timecop's main do- badder runs around in a leather trenchcoat, steel shin guards, huge pirate earrings, and a haircut executed by a bipolar barber.
It's something like a cross between an English longbowman and an extra from The Matrix, except that sounds awesome, so let me clarify: it's stupid-looking. That may be a stroke of genius on Hyams' part. If nothing else, you'll root for Van Damme to avoid the humiliation of dying at the hands of that goofus.
Timecop also suffers from One-Liner Syndrome, such as when Van Damme shotguns some dude in the balls and says "Ooh, that's gotta hurt." Not that anyone's expecting Citizen Claude here, but by giving in to the fads of the era, Timecop tarnishes its potentially fun premise.
And let's make no mistake, Van Damme kicking criminals through time and space is a pretty rad concept. Sometimes it flashes real inventiveness, like when a time traveler hoping to capitalize on the stock market is punished by being flung from the window of his 1929 skyscraper, or in Silver's too-good-to-spoil demise.
Like the best bad movies, Timecop offers up enough good scenes that you'll eventually forget it's bad at all.
* Contact Ed Robertson at firstname.lastname@example.org