Max Walker, an officer for a security agency that regulates time travel, must fend for his life against a shady politician who's intent on changing the past to control the future.
When the ability to travel through time is perfected, a new type of law enforcement agency is formed. It's called Time Enforcement Commission or TEC. A cop, Max Walker, is assigned to the group. On the day he was chosen, some men attack him and kill his wife. Ten years later Max is still grieving but has become a good agent for the TEC. He tracks down a former co-worker who went into the past to make money. Max brings him back for sentencing but not after telling Max that Senator McComb, the man in charge of TEC, sent him. Max has his eye on McComb.
When time travel was developed by a scientist in 1994, there was the need to create the Time Enforcement Commision (TEC) under the control of Senator Aaron McComb to protect the past from modifications. The police office Max Walker is invited to join the TEC, and when his wife Melissa is murdered by strangers, he accepts the invitation to work under the command of Eugene Matuzak. In 2004, Walker is assigned to capture his former partner Lyle Atwood that is manipulating the stock market in 1929. Atwood tells that he is working for Senator McComb, who is a powerful politician that is running for president. Atwood prefers to die and does not confess that McComb is a criminal. Now Max knows the truth but McComb is changing the past and Max does not know how stop him.
To monitor the illegal use of time travel, the government founds the Time Enforcement Commission, a high-tech police department under Senator Aaron McComb's supervision. However, ten years later, in 2004, the devoted TEC agent, Max Walker, who is still reeling from the untimely and rather mysterious loss of his wife, is summoned to unearth a conspiracy which dates back in time. Will the haunted Timecop use this advanced technology to thwart the evil plans of the megalomaniac who is behind a string of hideous time-crimes? In the end, will Max tamper with the past to right the wrongs, no matter the cost?
The perfection of time travel brings with it new opportunities for criminals. The government sets up a special police force (T.E.C.) to ensure the new technology isn't abused. Max Walker, one of these timecops learns of a corrupt politician's plot to become president using the device. Senator McComb discovers Walker on his trail and the real action begins--in Walker's own past!
In Washington DC in 1994, the Senate Oversight Committee (SOC) is being spoken to in the capitol building by George Spota, who explains that for the past 20 years, Doctor Hans Kleindast, the Nobel laureate who help the government with the space program back in the 1960s and 1970s, has been doing research, and his field of research has been time travel. The SOC believes that Hans is a quack -- until George tells the SOC that Hans actually succeeded in his research and took a trip to the past then back to the present. You can't travel into the future because the future hasn't happened yet. George makes it clear that a covert agency is needed to police time travel, so the Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) is formed. Named as the director of the TEC is Commander Eugene Matuzak, formerly of the Washington DC police department. Senator Aaron McComb, who sees possibilities, agrees to chair the oversight on the new program. Sometime later, at a shopping center, TEC agent Max Walker and his wife Melissa are being watched by a pair of shady looking men. Later, at home. Max and Melissa spend some passionate time together. That night, Melissa is about to tell Max something extremely important when the phone rings. Max answers the phone and is told to go to TEC headquarters. Max gets dressed and as soon as Max opens the front door to go outside, he is attacked by the two men from the shopping center. As the two men are beating Max up. Max sees Aaron looking out the window of the bedroom that Melissa is still in, and Aaron is holding Melissa hostage, forcing Melissa to watch Max's beating. The two men outside then shoot Max, who is wearing a bulletproof vest -- and then an explosion engulfs the house, killing Melissa. On October 30, 1929, on Wall Street in New York City, a man named Lyle Atwood enters an office building and rides an elevator up to an office. There is a sudden ripple in the office, and Max enters from the future. It turns out that Lyle is Max's partner, and Lyle is planning to stop the depression from happening. Max wants to know who Lyle is working for, and Lyie calls two security men into the office to deal with Max. Max beats up the two security men, and Lyle pulls out a gun and opens fire on Max. When Lyle runs out of bullets, Max forces Lyle to admit that he's working for Aaron, and that Aaron has paid off a lot of other TEC agents as well. Lyle then jumps out the window. Max jumps out after Lyle, grabs him, and takes Lyle with him back to present time, which is now the year 2004, ten years after Melissa's murder. TEC judge Marshall sentences Lyle to be immediately executed, so Lyle is sent back to 1929 and is dropped to his death from the point in midair where Max and Lyle disappeared to 2004. At TEC Headquarters in 2004, Aaron, Max, and Matuzak are showing Senator Malcolm Nelson around the TEC building. Aaron reminds everyone that people who go back in time risk coming into contact with a past version of themselves. The same matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time, because if that happens, and if it's a person accidentally making physical contact with their past version, that person will die, and their body will disappear from the face of the Earth. Later, Max tells Matuzak that Aaron wants to shut down the TEC so no one can stop him from altering the past to his advantage, because Aaron is now running for President of the United States. Aaron's fading campaign for president is dealt a blow when he is denied federal campaign matching funds. Just before Max wakes up, two men break into his home to kill him, but Max turns the tables and kills the two men who broke in. TEC internal affairs investigator Sarah Fielding questions Max. Max soon learns that Sarah may be on the wrong side in this. Max must travel back and forth in time to bring Aaron down...and when Max goes back to 1994 and finds out what Melissa wanted to tell him 10 years ago, it gives Max incentive to at least try to prevent Melissa's murder.
- In 1863, Confederate soldiers are carrying a gold bullion as a payday for the army. Suddenly, they are cornered and shot by a highwayman using anachronistic automatic pistols and futuristic tech equipment, leaving them stranded and dead. The mysterious highwayman steals the trunk containing the gold and then suddenly vaporizes into a gelatin like mist.
In 1994, 131 years later in Washington DC, the U.S. government creates the Time Enforcement Commission (TEC) to combat the misuse of newly developed time travel technology. They have discovered that the same gold bullion was used in recent arms purchases. The TEC is to detect "time ripples" among the time-lines and to stop them from happening before they reach the present, since people cannot travel forward in time to the future, they always travel back to either change history or steal riches. (Note: the mysterious highwayman who killed the Confederate soldiers in 1863 to steal their gold is never seen again or identified). Senator Aaron McComb (Ron Silver) volunteers to fund and oversee the commission.
Meanwhile, police officer Max Walker (Jean Claude Van Damme) is offered a job as a TEC agent. He meets his wife Melissa (Mia Sara) at a local shopping mall where he stops a purse snatcher. He notices three odd-looking punk men following them despite never seeing them before. Walker and Melissa go home to their large fancy house and later make love.
Later that same evening, Max is attacked in his home by the same intruders he saw earlier at the mall and Melissa is killed in an explosion, destroying his house.
Ten years later in the year 2004, Walker is now a veteran TEC Agent. He is sent back to October 1929, in the midst of the Wall Street crash to arrest his former partner Atwood (Jason Schombing) for taking advantage of the U.S. stock-market crash. After subduing Atwood's bodyguards, Walker interrogates Atwood who reveals that he is working for Senator McComb, who needs money for his presidential campaign. Terrified by McComb's threat by sending hit-men back in time to murder his ancestors, thereby wiping out his existence, Atwood tries to kill himself by jumping out a window. Walker catches him as he falls and takes him back to 2004, but Atwood refuses to testify against McComb and the TEC agency sends him back to 1929, right where he left off, this time falling to his death.
Senator McComb arrives at the TEC agency to oversee the work and to congratulate Walker for his recent successful mission. Walker implies to McComb that he knows all about his dirty dealings behind the scenes in Washington and about his means to acquire money for his campaign. McComb leaves the facility and orders his aide to have Walker killed. The next morning, two assassins break into Walker's small apartment and attempt to kill him, but Walker, a trained martial arts expert, kills both assassins after a violent and protracted fight.
While still trying to investigate McComb to expose him of corruption, Walker is partnered with agent Sarah Fielding (Gloria Reuben), and sent back to 1994 to investigate a pending ripple, where they find a young Senator McComb arguing with his business partner Jack Parker about their company's new computer chip. Parker offers to buy McComb's share of the company, but suddenly, the older McComb arrives from 2004 to warn his younger self that the chip will make huge profits. A fight starts when Walker is double-crossed by Fielding, who reveals she works for McComb. McComb kills Parker, wounds Fielding, attempts to kill Walker, and manages to escape back to 2004.
When Walker returns to 2004, he finds that things have become worse. McComb now owns the computer company, with no record of Parker. He is almost guaranteed the Presidency with his finances and approval rating. The TEC is being shut down due to budget cuts. There is also no record of Fielding. Realizing that he has to fix things, Walker hijacks the original prototype time machine (which McComb had been using for their illegal trips) with the help of Commander Matuzak (Bruce McGill), who sacrifices himself when McComb's men try to stop Walker from escaping.
Finding himself once more in 1994, Walker finds Fielding in the hospital, where she agrees to testify against McComb. Whilst trying to find Fielding's DNA from a blood sample in the lab, Walker finds a sample of Melissa's blood and it indicates she is pregnant. Walker realizes her death occurred later that night, and he decides to stop it. After going back to Fielding's room, he discovers that she has been murdered and he is framed as the prime suspect.
He goes to the mall where he and Melissa met that night. Eventually, Max Walker finds her and manages to convince her he is from the future. He also sees the three thugs who attacked him and realizes that they are McComb's men whom were sent back to kill him before he joined the TEC.
That evening, McComb's thugs break into Walker's home, like before, only this time the older Walker is waiting for them. Without his younger self realizing it, the older Walker helps to fight off the bad guys. Together, they and Melissa win, though the younger Walker is wounded. The 2004 McComb then takes Melissa hostage. When the older Walker finds McComb is holding Melissa, the corrupt senator then sets a time bomb. He then shoots Melissa, just before the young McComb appears, having been tricked into coming to the house by a fake message from Walker. Walker grabs the young McComb and pushes him into the older one, causing them to become a writhing, screaming mass which melts into nothingness (since according to the time theory, no two persons can exist by physically touching each other).
Walker carries the wounded Melissa out of the house just before the bomb explodes, destroying the house just like before. He lays the unconscious Melissa beside his younger self and leaves the scene before the local police and fire department arrives. Walker returns to 2004, and the time-line has been corrected. The TEC still exists, Fielding and Matuzak are alive, and McComb does not exist, having "vanished" ten years earlier. As Walker returns home, he is happily shocked to find himself living in the same house which was rebuilt. Melissa is alive and their nine-year-old son is waiting to greet him. As Walker walks into the house for dinner Melissa has something to announce to Walker... implying that she is pregnant again.