Just In Time… Our Review Of Tim Van Dammen’s ‘Mega Time Squad’ (2018)

I have yet to watch a New Zealand film I haven’t fallen in love with, and Mega Time Squad is no exception. There is just something about the Kiwi humor that consistently makes me laugh out loud. From the casual vulgarity of the characters to the endearing, polite dialogue exchanges in what are otherwise tense situations, Mega Time Squad is a film that will keep you on your toes with all of the time-hopping, while making you fall in love with all the character’s individual personalities.

Plot

A small town debt collector finds an ancient cursed bracelet that allows him to hop through time in order to change the past and achieve his goal of stealing the Chinese mob’s money in order to start a new life. The only problem is he is caught between the local criminals who want the cash for themselves and the curse of the bracelet.

Review

Jonny Brugh (What We Do in the Shadows 2014) plays Shelton, the leader of a low level crime syndicate who wants to steal the Chinese mob’s cash in order to send a message that this is his town. After plans go awry, John (Anton Tennet: Legend of the Seeker 2008) ends up jumping around time in order to avoid Shelton, his gang, the Chinese, and the curse of the bracelet, all the while dealing with the multiple copies of himself he creates with each time jump.

The Johns begin to multiply.

Mega Time Squad’s writer/director, Tim Van Dammen (Romeo and Juliette: A Love Song), does a commendable job of not only creating a world in which all the characters are well fleshed out, but has also written them to deliver some of the most brilliantly hilarious deadpan lines I’ve seen since the likes of Airplane. Some of the reoccurring gags left me not only roaring with laughter, but also feeling a bit bad for the unlucky recipients.

The editing is finely paced and perfectly cut. The scenes where the multiple copies of John are interacting will leave you scratching your head trying to figure out how they made it all happen. The time traveling and kills are also top notch. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of special effects, considering the independent film budget they had to work with. The whole thing felt very reminiscent of the early Simon Pegg and Nick Frost films like Shawn of the Dead.

Writer/Director Tim Van Dammen

The underlying tone of Mega Time Squad is John’s character trying to come into his own and become the brave man he wants to be by confronting himself… literally, all four copies. John must deal with all the other Johns in order to figure out what is really important to him in life while deciding which future he wants live.

Tennet does an amazing job playing all the different iterations of John, giving them slight differences in attitude and variances in their voice to differentiate them as much as possible. Not an easy task when there are four other identically dressed characters on screen at the same time.

Hetty Gaskell-Hahn (Shortland Street TV series) does a bang up job with the character of Kelly, John’s love interest. Kelly is the catalyst in John’s life that sparks the belief in himself that he is more than he gives himself credit for. She also happens to be the bomb-making sister of Shelton. Simon Ward (In A Flash… 2018) plays Jay, the slingshot wielding, all-knowing Guru. Though he is only in a couple of scenes, his contribution to the film is pure gold.

Hetty Gaskell-Hahn who plays the badass, bomb-making Kelly

Final Thoughts

Mega Time Squad is a fantastic example of what an independent film should be. It is full of ambition and delivers a fun and well-rounded story that is a joy to watch. There are moments that were a little confusing at times, but that is to be expected with a film that has 5 identical main characters running around at any given time. The musical score is wonderful and varied. It lends the perfect amount of emotion to each scene and is never overbearing. Mega Time Squad clocks in at a hair under 80 minutes, which is perfect for this type of film. If you are a lover of Kiwi cinema, this movie will be a perfect addition to your collection.

Mega Time Squad is available in select theaters and VOD. Got check it out!

About Chris Prevost

From the second I knew how to speak, I knew I wanted to write. Every time I touched someone with my words I knew if it was in print I would reach those who would listen. Writer / Film Critic / Contributer at PopHorror.com, Site Manager / Podcaster / Contributer at Minds of the Morbid Podcast, Administrator for All Things Horror Facebook group, Administrator at Horror Haus of Sinistry Facebook Group. Writer / Film Critic / Contributer at filmquirk.com

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