Who said Kiwis couldn't fly?
NZ family comedy about a young lad who sets out to win the Nelson Trolley Derby, in memory of his late father. Stars Dai Henwood, Tandi Wright (TVNZ's Nothing Trivial) and Vince Martin, the iconic face of Beaurepaires.... More
Figuring the best way to honour his dad is to win the coveted race, 12-year-old Ben has to overcome roadblocks on the path to glory including cheating Australians (led by Martin), dodgy loan sharks and a heartbroken mum (Wright) who doesn't want him to race at all.
Dai Henwood plays Ben's teacher, while the rest of the cast is made up of local Nelson talent. Producer Tim Sanders (Whale Rider) says the movie couldn't have been made "without the help of so many local organisations and individuals. From Nelson Intermediate, the Trolley Derby Club, the Hot Rod Club, Scouts and many others."Hide
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BY Rebecca Barry Hill Flicks Writer
Every kid dreams of flying. The next best thing must be whizzing down a steep slope in a contraption of your own making. For the young actors in Tony Simpson’s Kiwi Flyer, the first local film for kids since The Silent One 27 years ago, the chance to do just that in a screen version of Nelson’s yearly Trolley Derby must have been an unforgettable experience.... More
Viewers will no doubt get warm fuzzies too – this is a feel-good family flick featuring all the hallmarks of the genre. Unless you count a couple of hairy moments the kids endure on the open road, Simpson and co-writer Andrew Gunn’s script plays it safe, combining drama with broad comedy and slapstick, flying poo included.
Twelve-year-old Ben (Edward Hall) is up against a legion of baddies who feel pretty familiar: the smug Aussie cheats, their smug Aussie dad (a dastardly comic Vince Martin in a role parents will enjoy as much as the kids), the dodgy loan sharks who help get Ben’s venture off the ground, and a mum who isn’t keen on the idea of him entering the derby at all (Tandi Wright in a warm and nuanced performance). Dai Henwood also shows he’s capable of stepping outside his comfort zone as the kids’ kind, geeky teacher, himself an underdog in the romance department.
As you’d expect, obstacles arise at the worst possible moments, hopes are dashed and relationships tested. And like all decent family flicks, deeper messages are at play about the value of friendship, determination and choosing right over wrong.
It doesn’t always matter that the less experienced members of the cast, many of them new faces from Nelson, aren’t consistently slick, or that there are more silly, whoopsie-daisy moments than an episode of Mr Bean. Kiwi Flyer makes up for that with its big climactic race scene, big heart and big sense of adventure.Hide