VOD - The Legend of Baron To’A Comes To Digital Platforms & VOD on December 4th

By Mulder, 13 november 2020

Gravitas Ventures & New Zealand Film Commission proudly announce the December 4th theatrical, digital and VOD release of festival hit The Legend of Baron To’A. The film stars Uli Latukefu, who was recently tapped to play the young Dwayne The Rock Johnson in an upcoming NBC production.

When his late father’s priceless championship belt is stolen by a ruthless gang, a displaced Tongan man must reconnect with his father’s legacy to defeat the barbaric gang kingpin and get the title back. Fritz, a displaced Tongan man, returns to the cul-de-sac of his youth to sell his family home. When a priceless heirloom - a championship wrestling belt belonging to his late father, Baron To’a, - is pillaged from the family home, Fritz’s uncle Otto cancels the sale of the house until the belt is returned. A local street thug reveals the belt is now in the possession of resident gang, The Pig Hunters.

Fritz determines to get the belt back with higher reasoning. After a run-in with a corrupt cop and a vicious attack from the gang, three patched members invite Fritz to a BBQ to ‘break bread’. The family-oriented BBQ becomes dangerous after dark as Fritz comes face-to-face with gang leader Tahu who has the belt draped over his shoulder. Fritz fails to reason with Tahu and is ruthlessly beaten into the streets. While healing, Fritz realises he must rekindle a lost connection with his father’s legacy, proclaiming to Otto that he wants a “shot at the title”. After training with Otto, Fritz combines his analytics skills with his father’s wrestling techniques to smash his way through the gang and flush out Tahu. An epic ‘no holds barred’ title fight ensues but does Fritz truly understand what it takes to become the champion ?

Following a strong run of Kiwi television, director Kiel McNaughton makes his feature debut with an action-comedy small in scale but big on stakes. Uli Latukefu (soon to appear in Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins) gives a charismatic turn as Fritz, supported by a talented Polynesian cast (including The Matrix Reloaded’s Nathaniel Lees and Attack of the clones ’ Jay Laga’aia) that delivers comedy and pathos in a seamless blend of English and Tongan. While the hard-hitting fight choreography draws inspiration from pro wrestling and martial arts movies, it’s firmly grounded in its suburban setting, resulting in setpieces that celebrate the Pacific Island experience just as much as the script does. Balancing wacky hijinks, thoughtful family drama, and kickass action through low-key Kiwi charm, The Legend of Baron To’A brings slick action-movie filmmaking to a wee South Auckland cul-de-sac.

Synopsis :
When Fritz was a kid, his pro-wrestler father Baron To’a was the stuff of legend, the pride of his New Zealand Tongan community. But those days, and To’a himself, are long gone. Begrudgingly returning from his high-speed Australian business life to expedite the sale of his childhood home, Fritz finds his old neighbourhood changed. A crooked cop harasses the neighbours. Wayward youths steal his uncle Otto’s lawnmower. Worst of all, his father’s championship belt has been appropriated by the “Pig Hunters” gang that rules over everyone on the street. Fritz strives valiantly to apply buzzwordy corporate psychology to smalltime gangland negotiations and even hand-to-hand combat, but he’ll have to reconnect with his roots and rethink his attitude if he wants to reclaim his family’s honour – and the championship title.

The Legend of Baron To’A
Directed by Kiel McNaughton
Produced by Kerry Warkia
Written by John Argall
Starring Uli Latukefu, Nathaniel Lees, Jay Laga'aia, Shavaughn Ruakere, & John Tui
Music by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper
Cinematography : Drew Sturge
Edited by Carly Turner
Distributed by Gravitas Ventures (USA)
Release date : December 4th 2020 (USA)
Running time : 103 minutes