* ½

STARRING: Jason Scott Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Mary Page Keller, John Beck, Tava Smiley

2003, 78 Minutes, Directed by: Steve Boyum

Description: Jason Scott Lee stars as Ryan Chang, the maverick Timecop who is assigned to prevent criminals from travelling to the past and altering the future. The clock is ticking — and Ryan must track down the evil mastermind Branson Miller (Thomas Ian Griffith) who is bent on using history as the ultimate weapon.   Amazon.com

This sequel in name only to the 1994 (can it be ten years already?) Timecop which starred Jean-Claude van Damme kicks off promisingly with time travellers from the future attempting to assassinate Hitler and thus prevent World War II from happening at all. Another squad of so-called “time cops” tries to stop them. After all, who knows what the consequences would be if one tampers with history like this?

Ah, I thought, this straight-to-video might just be some fun – especially right after slogging it through the terrible Dragon Storm.

Alas, this just proved to be unwarranted optimism on my part. I don’t know what one would realistically expect from a sequel to a Van Damme movie that doesn’t even star him (instead it features Jason Scott Lee who played Bruce Lee in Dragon and Kurt Russell’s nemesis in Soldier), but I guess that at least one should be thankful that the camerawork didn’t make me feel physically sick as was the case with Dragon Storm.

Small mercies though. Instead one has a confusing mess of a movie. Time travel stories can be quite convoluted and filled with plot and logic holes and paradoxes. Let’s say I travelled back in time and killed someone’s grandfather that means that that person would never have existed in the first place. Would that person however simply be swept away by a bad CGI effect in our present time? And if that person never existed in the first place, then why send someone back in time to kill him? That would of course mean that that person does exist . . . and so on and on.

This sort of circuitous logic can sink the best screenplay. In Timecop 2 – The Berlin Decision the whole thing goes under without even the viewer applying this sort of logic to onscreen proceedings. The plot itself is confusing by itself as the movie rushes forth from one kung fu fight scene to the next.

Just what is happening and why? It is difficult to figure out as the whole killing Hitler plot is discarded to merely form the back story to a plot about a bad guy named Branson Miller (Thomas Ian Griffith) seeking revenge against the Lee character for killing his wife. In fact I times wondered who one is supposed to be rooting for: the guy who shot an innocent woman to save Hitler or the guy who is seeking revenge for his wife’s murder?

Anyway, if you like movies with shirtless men kung fu kicking the heck out of each other set to rock music then this might be the movie for you. The rest of us would however see a wasted opportunity to play around with nice sci-fi ideas instead of the confusing mess Timecop 2 ultimately is.

On the plus side: The acting isn’t too bad, production values are quite high for a straight-to-video flick and the running time is a short 78 minutes. For one thing you won’t be bored because you’d be too busy trying to figure out what exactly is happening and why . . .


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