Excuse me, but are you me? To the star of the new Jean-Claude Van Damme film, from his namesake
You won't get this for at least 10 years, what with the fact that you live in 2004 and all, but there's a bone I want to pick with you - you've stolen my name.

You're the fictional hero of the new Jean-Claude Van Damme film, Timecop, which explains, no doubt, why you're his spitting image (believe me, that's where the resemblance between us ends). Congratulations, by the way, on how everything works out for youin the film, but you still have this loose end to tie up: I don't want to join the ranks of the Harry Limes, Scarlett O'Haras and Arthur Daleys, with a lifetime of one-liners every time I have to introduce myself.

And don't tell me that I'm over-reacting. We all know people whose lives are thus blighted. I went to college with Adam Clayton and I've seen what 10 years of U2 gags can do to a man. What about my friend doing a PhD, soon destined to be Dr Watson? It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to work out what he'll have to put up with for the rest of his life. And, worst of all, there's the father of my friend, Andy Hood, whose parents inexplicably opted for Robin.... I once worked in a restaurant where they made me wear a name badge. But they didn't have a "Max", so they gave me a "Roger" instead. I had to go around like that for a month and it was too complicated to explain to people; so I just answered to Roger. I became Roger. It affected me for weeks. And now I have the same feelings: a sense of loss of identity. When I see my name, I have to double check that it's really about me.

Of course I'm flattered that Jean-Claude feels my name is hip enough to adopt. That bit in Timecop where your wife says: "There's nobody like Max Walker to keep the streets safe." Nobody else in the cinema could have known that little frisson of pleasurethat ran down my spine.

Anyway, here's the plan: you pop back and have a quick word with your parents. Yes, I do know about all the paradoxes, ruptures in the space-time continuum, the dangers of erasing key events in history. But I think we should take the chance. I mean - look at the facts - the only things in Timecop shot more full of holes than the plot are the walk-on characters. Bearing in mind that the whole point of the film is the malleability of history, why not save us both 50 years of misery?

On the other hand, one explanation hasn't escaped me. The bulk of Timecop takes place nine years in the future. If I spent all that time in the company gym, took a huge amount of steroids, and adopted a dodgy French accent, who knows? Maybe we're the same person.

Comments