You don't need a time travelling device to realise that Mega Time Squad is destined to become a future cult classic.
This lo-fi local movie is a sci-fi, comedy crime caper that sees John, a dim but likeable small-time crook, come into possession of a mystical bracelet that allows him to travel through time. Realising the awesome power the bracelet affords him, John hatches a hare-brained scheme to rob his patronising crime boss, hightail it out of Thames with bags of cash and start a new life in the big smoke of Paeroa.
I'm not sure why John didn't just go back in time with the winning Lotto numbers but I guess that wouldn't be much of a movie... Instead, he repeatedly time travels backward until there's a gang of John's all working in tandem to pull off the heist.
Writer/director Tim van Dammen has perfectly captured the spirit and vibe of the 80s retro classics he was so obviously inspired by, right down to its great synth soundtrack. For a no-budget film, Mega Time Squad certainly looks a million dollars. The effects here convince, especially as the screen starts filling up with the squad of Johns.
The script is foul-mouthed and very funny, revelling in its distinctly Kiwi rhythm and dialogue. There's a dry wit to the gags, frequently bordering on absurdism, that makes it feel like the weirdo pop-culture obsessed cousin of Taika Waititi and Flight of the Conchords.
But what makes the movie so enjoyable, especially for us locals, is how recognisably Kiwi the movie is. From its Thames location to characters eating pies to John constantly declaring things to be "mean, bro", Mega Time Squad is a movie that simply could not have been made anywhere else.
It doesn't take itself too seriously and really is a lot of fun. Find the time to see it now or you'll be left looking for your own mystical bracelet.
Jonny Brugh, Anton Tennet, Hetty Gaskell-Hahn
Tim van Dammen
R13 (Violence and offensive language)
This Kiwi crime caper is mean as.