Friday, 20 July 2018

Mega Time Squad: NZIFF Review

Mega Time Squad: NZIFF Review

More loopy, than Looper, Mega Time Squad is a blast.

A ludicrously-fuelled tale of crime and lack of ambition in middle New Zealand (Thames, to be precise), director Tim Van Dammen's follow up to NZIFF hit Romeo and Juliet: A Love Story is nonetheless stylish.
Mega Time Squad: NZIFF Review

Anton Tennet is John, a small town hoodlum who's less a player, more easily-to-be-played. Part of a crime gang run by Jonny Brugh's Shelton (the humourous lunatic of the piece), John's sent to rob a triad at his behest to prevent the Chinese from getting a foothold in Thames.

While carrying out the deed, John gets his hands on a mysterious piece of Chinese jewellery that has mystical time-travelling properties...and suddenly finds he has ambitions he never realised.

Fresh, enticing and flipping funny, Mega Time Squad is easily the 2018 New Zealand International Film Festival's best time at the movies.

With a laconic style and some unexpectedly humorous moments to pierce any of the meanness (of which there's little) van Dammen celebrates the Kiwi in the middle of the country, and never once loses any of the smarts of the film's genre. It may play up the mystical elements of the bracelet and then never quite deliver (the film's only criticism), but van Dammen's clever enough to use the genre for what it needs, and never loses sight that the core of the story is of a man stuck where he is split between wanting to be and not.

Very much a celebration riddled through with a lunatic lo-fi joie de vivre (and some truly amusing yet human imagery, pies under a cloche being the best), Mega Time Squad is the NZIFF's best good time so far.

There's nothing pals and pies can't solve, and amid the wannabe gangster storyline and growing absurdities, Mega Time Squad packs as big a heart as you could ever want from a NZ film.

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