Five years after turning Shakespeare into a trailer park musical in ROMEO AND JULIET: A LOVE SONG, Tim van Dammen is back with MEGA TIME SQUAD. The low budget New Zealand time travel/crime comedy is off to a good start with a world premiere at the 2018 Fantasia International Film Festival.
John (Anton Tennet LEGEND OF THE SEEKER) is a low-level hood working for small-town crime boss Shelton (Jonny Brugh WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS). After a robbery of what turns out to be a Triad front goes badly wrong he finds himself on the run from everybody. He has two things going for him, a bracelet he got during the robbery that has time-bending powers. And the help of Shelton’s sister Kelly (Hetty Gaskell-Hahn). But the bracelet has a demon guardian, which might be a bigger danger than the mob.
MEGA TIME SQUAD is a rarity for me, a comedy that actually made me laugh out loud. The way the script subverts the whole time travel genre is brilliantly inventive. Forget the idea that you can’t meet yourself, John teams up with multiple versions of himself. Of course, there are complications, but not what you might expect.
The crime aspects of the story, on the other hand, are pretty straightforward and conventional. Which makes them ripe for a twist like this. An invasion of Shelton’s home by multiple time-warping Johns is especially funny. Shelton and his crew might be just a bit too inept though. At times you wonder how they managed to get control of even this small town, (Thames New Zealand, Population 7,518). Not that John is the sharpest tool in the shed either, but seeing him find his balls, (a running gag in the film), and make his stand is a big part of the film’s charm.
A lighthearted and fun romp with a fast pace and wonderfully low tech time travel effects, MEGA TIME SQUAD will feel familiar to those who remember the VHS era. It would have been right at home on a shelf at Blockbuster and bearing a Vestron Video logo. A lot of laughs, a few effects and a bit of action and violence. All delivered with a smile and an eye on the budget.