Mega Time Squad (2018) – Film Review
Director: Tim van Dammen
Cast: Anton Tennet, Hetty Gaskell Hahn, Jonathan Brugh
by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow
‘Thames, New Zealand. Population: 7,518 – and falling. Unless you’re Johnny, the new member of a local gang led by Shelton. He’s multiplying’. That’s the attractive pitch for this microbudget comedy.
Johnny is foiled in an attempt to double-cross Shelton at his own game of masterminding the sleepy town’s criminal underbelly. Our hero accidentally pinches an ancient bracelet with which he can turn back time – and creates multiple clones of himself. Johnny forms his own gang against Shelton’s and what unfolds is sporadically funny.
“Charm that grows on you”
Put another way, if Taika Waititi and Edgar Wright ever joined forces to make a movie for a few thousand dollars, the result might look like Mega Time Squad. It starts off wanting to be as cool and eccentric as Waititi’s Eagle vs Shark, or Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and eventually finds its feet.
The cast are likeable, especially the hero and heroine, Anton Tennet and Hetty Gaskell Hahn, and the time travel element helps enormously.
It’s a slacker comedy that could have done with more energy at times. And while the subtext about a bullying gangster is so-so, it has a charm that grows on you. Seen after a few pints down the pub, I can see this developing a cult following.
Writer/director Tim Van Dammen makes the best of a modest budget, and I imagine in a few years when he’s making studio pictures, this will be re-screened as one of those ‘Look where he started out’ films.
The bluray is pretty crisp, and the director’s commentary should inspire anyone who wants to get a bunch of mates together and make a fun comedy. Cast and crew obviously had more fun making the movie than I did watching it, but that’s not a criticism.
As a lover of New Zealand movies, this is an intriguing chapter in their booming film industry and I’ll be intrigued to see what van Dammen and his cast do next.
‘Mega Time Squad’ is released on Bluray by Arrow