Review: The Legend of Baron To’a
Aotearoa Film Game ChangerWhat a debut from director Kiel McNaughton. This is a Coming of Age story never seen come out of Aotearoa. The story centres around Fritz, the son of the legendary wrestling icon Baron To'a, returning home from Australia to sell up and move on. When he arrives his childhood neighborhood is not the peaceful cul-de-sac he remembers. Instead it's home to the gang pad of The Pig Hunters. An intimidating and cancerous lot who have destroyed the harmony of a once great street. Everything goes bad for Fritz but especially when they steal the family heirloom, his father's wrestling belt. What ensues is a colourful, heartfelt, funny and meaningful journey that rings out like a contemporary Tongan Rocky/Karate Kid/Rushmore. I don't want to give too much away but from the performances, story, stunts (OMG the stunts!!), framing and character development this is a film that deserves big screen viewing. I hope it's not a sleeper hit because it deserves to smash it out the gate. Kiel has given Aotearoa film a new lane in story telling and it's about time. Yes, we can do films that hearken back to The Shaw Brothers, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, the WWF, and mix it up with a hearty dose of Tangata Pasifika context. Malo aupito Brown Sugar Apple Grunt. Another one!