Movie Review: Tyson

March 22, 2011

“What I have done in the past is a history, and what I’m a do in the future is a mystery.” - Mike Tyson

Tyson is an interview style documentary about former World Champ Boxer, Mike Tyson. This film gives an honest and often explicit account of Tyson the man, the fighter and the father.

The film opens with Mike pummelling his opponent in a fight. We forget how hard Tyson used to hit his opposite in the ring. At the top of his game, he was a champion. A savage, unforgiving and unrelenting champion. This also at times throughout the film, is reflected in his character.

But Tyson humanizes “Iron Mike” and gives an avenue for the man behind the myth(s) to give his story about his life and career. This is done in an honest and compelling way. This film really gives a sense of balance in terms of getting these points across, but still makes no judgement on Tyson or the situations he was involved in, allowing the audience to make up their own minds. This is an important skill in documentary filmmaking, and Tyson does achieve this.

Tyson explores his harsh early childhood in the deep, dangerous hoods of Brooklyn, his beginnings in boxing, the guidance from his former trainer “Cus”, his sudden rise to fame, his problems with women and the law, his conversion to Islam, the infamous bite on Evander Holyfield, his relationship with Don King, his fall from grace and now Tyson the family man.

In hindsight, a couple things could’ve been done differently or more effectively. The various shots of Mike contemplating by the beach we’re unnecessary, and the overlaying dialog and images of some of Mike’s interviews I sometimes found to be somewhat disjointed and distracting.

Nas’ “Legendary” is the film’s title track which was a nice surprise.

“Spirit of the streets,

Walks in the ring

From Brownsville the spot

Fit to boxing king

Man, machine or animal

Physical strength and intelligence

But that type of intellect

Y’all respect”

Tyson tells the stories behind the stories of Mike Tyson, and even if you’re a little bit of a boxing fan, or not, I recommend you check this out as there are definitely a few talking points that are explored, and some really human and touching emotional moments which I certainly didn’t expect from such a viscous athlete.


Review by Stuart Daulman.

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