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Mega Time Squad (2018)
Dark Sky Films
Blu-ray Disc Released: 4/9/2019
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/22/2019
At their core, all movies should simply be movies, just as all people should simply be people, but, as humans, we love to categorized and label things. Therefore, films are often judged (or pre-judged) on their country of origin. When it comes to movies from New Zealand, we don’t hear much, outside of the work of Peter Jackson. However, the “kiwis” clearly have a burgeoning independent film community, as evidenced by entries like What We Do in the Shadows and Deathgasm. While these films are very, very different, they do share the common trait of taking familiar ideas and giving them a distinct tweak. We get a similar effect with the latest import form New Zealand, Mega Time Squad.
John (Anton Tennet) is a small-time hood who spend his time working for mob-boss wannabe Shelton (Jonny Brugh). John and his mate, Gaz (Arlo Gibson), decide that they should branch out on their own and oversee a heist. They decide to intercept a shipment of cash which is headed for a Chinese importer – a score that Shelton had been planning to steal. While robbing the importer, John grabs a mysterious bracelet. A few hours later, John finds himself in a bind and discovers that the bracelet has the power to send him a few minutes into the past. Not only does this allow him to escape this predicament, it allows him to observe himself in action. John is further amazed when he learns that he can interact with his other from the future (past?). This gives John an idea of how he can best Shelton.
First of all, kudos to Mega Time Squad for understanding that traveling through time is not the same thing as traveling through space. So many movies confuse these concepts and allow characters to not only travel to a different date on the calendar, but to a different location as well. If time travel were going to work, it probably wouldn’t work like that. The film should also be commended for not dwelling too much on the mechanics of the time travel. John simply pushes the button on the bracelet and he’s whisked backwards a few minutes. It’s presented as magic, as opposed to science, and thus, no other explanation is needed. I also liked the fact that John, who doesn’t seem like the brightest person, took the whole thing in-stride and he’s not very phased by the fact that he can communicate with other incarnations of himself.
Outside of those bright spots however, Mega Time Squad does run into some stumbling blocks. Any film which deals with characters doing the same thing over and over again runs the risk of coming of as redundant, and that is certainly a problem here. Although the film is barely 90-minutes, it feels much longer than that and watching John repeat the same actions really drags the entire thing down. This movie owes a lot to 2007’s Timecrimes and while that film did a better job with the subject matter, it ran into the same kind of problems. Also, the movie has some issues with tone. Again, it has no interest in truly being a science-fiction film and concentrates more on John pulling off a heist. But, it also attempts to funnel in some humor, most of which doesn’t land. On top of this, the characters aren’t very appealing, with most of them coming across as quite wooden.
Here’s the bottom line: When an episode of The Brak Show did a better job of pulling off a concept then your movie did, then you are in trouble. I can certainly appreciate the independent spirit behind Mega Time Squad and for a low-budget movie, the visual effects are seamless. However, the final product is somewhat dull and lifeless and never lives up to the full potential of the idea. If I could jump back in time a few minutes, I would have fast-forwarded through a lot of Mega Time Squad.
Mega Time Squad also rolls out way too much New Zealand slang for its own good on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Dark Sky Films. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 32 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no defects from the source materials and only a hint of grain at times. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail delivers a crisp image, and even with that clarity, the visual effects still look good. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. As the action in the film is fairly consistent, the track delivers ongoing surround and stereo effects which help provide a sense of space and action coming from off-screen. Some of the more active action sequences bring in subtle subwoofer action. It’s not an overwhelming track, but it does service to the film.
The Mega Time Squad Blu-ray Disc contains only a few extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Writer/Director Tim van Dammen. There are eleven DELETED SCENES included here. A few of these are new scenes, while others are simply extra moments from scenes in the finished film. The only other extra is a TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2019 by Mike Long