The Legend of Baron To’a

The Legend of Baron To’a

The Legend of Baron To’a

In this Kiwi action-comedy, a Tongan entrepreneur returns to his old neighbourhood and inadvertently causes the theft of his late father’s valued pro wrestling title belt. Failing to retrieve it, his only choice is to embrace his father's legacy. The feature directorial debut of Kiel McNaughton, co-producer of Waru and Vai.

2020Rating: RP13, Violence & offensive language105 minsNew Zealand
ActionComedy

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The Legend of Baron To’a / Reviews

Flicks

Flicks, Steve Newall

An all-star Pasifika and Māori cast, a state house cul-de-sac setting and great local soundtrack (Church & AP, SWIDT) combine to lend a distinctive flavour to this Aotearoa entrant in the action-comedy genre. While the poster artwork may look to have liberated the font from Fast & Furious, The Legend of Baron To’a feels more indebted to the likes of Hong Kong action pics in structure and fight sequences, perhaps even some of its characterisations, but fuses its disparate elements together to prove a unique, kick-ass crack-up.

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The Age

The Age

A strange but enjoyable hybrid of martial arts movie and folksy comedy from first-time New Zealand director Kiel McNaughton.

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FilmInk

FilmInk

…like a bombastic graphic novel brought roaring to cinematic life, where every punch, beat and quotable piece of dialogue is a certified haymaker.

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Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald

There are points when The Legend of Baron To’a feels like one big in-joke, designed mainly to entertain the filmmakers, along with viewers who know the setting well enough to get an automatic kick out of seeing extravagant action sequences staged in their own backyard. But even to outsiders the film has the charm of a homemade object, not quite like anything else.

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FilmInk

FilmInk

...like a bombastic graphic novel brought roaring to cinematic life, where every punch, beat and quotable piece of dialogue is a certified haymaker.

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New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener

Less hardy viewers may find it too violent and insufficiently funny, and it’s true that for most of the movie Baron To’a delivers more of a well-acted if violent drama than a slapstick comedy in the spirit of Three Wise Cousins or Take Home Pay.

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Stuff

Stuff

While very much a lighter look at South Auckland life than Once Were Warriors and What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?, Legend still packs a narrative punch. That it will likely appeal to both younger audiences and those who grew up watching pro-wrestling on TV in the 1970s and '80s just makes it even more of a triumph.

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The Legend of Baron To’a / Trailers