Fantasia Film Review: ‘Mega Time Squad’

The mean streets of Thames, New Zealand — though “moderately impolite” appears to be about as bad as it gets — become an improbable setting for supernaturally-sparked action in “Mega Time Squad.” Tim van Dammen’s clever crime comedy pegs good guys and bad guys alike as gormless clods, a dynamic only heightened after the discovery of a time-travel device that generates clones of our none-too-bright hero. The unique mix of simultaneously droll and broad humor is very nicely delivered by a well-cast ensemble, resulting in a polished oddity that should make a splash at home, while attracting decent overseas interest.

The film represents a considerable leap from prolific music-video helmer van Dammen’s prior feature, 2013’s amusing if rough trailer-park rock musical “Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song,” and the tongue-in-cheek splashiness of its style is immediately engaging. John (Anton Tennet) is a prime punter in his town of 7,000, where long-deceased parents and no surplus of grey matter has landed him in circumstances humble even by local standards. He lives in a garage (from which he’s about to be evicted), while “working” as one of several dim-bulb flunkies for middleweight local crime boss Shelton (Jonny Brugh from “What We Do in the Shadows”).