Directed by: James Tobak
Starring: Mike Tyson
Review by Deke Richards
PLOT: An intimate look at ex heavy weight boxing champ of the world Mike Tyson’s life as told by the man himself. His roots, his ups and downs, his present state of mind, all is covered.
CRITIQUE: Before I begin breaking this flick down I must put this out there: I was never a Mike Tyson fan despite his obvious abilities at kicking some serious ass (my good friend Arrow tried to convert me - didn't work). But low and behold all that changed upon viewing James Toback's TYSON. It was a pleasure sitting through this well-crafted and emotionally charged documentary (I in fact teared up when he spoke of his trainer/father figure who passed on - didn't expect that to happen).
It all started off with a strong through clips of Tyson in one of his early spectacular fights that felt like a scene straight out of “Rocky 4”. Quite brutal and exciting I must say especially due to the fact that this was a real match! From there on we join Tyson in the comfort of his home overlooking LA from the hills (Who says he’s broke again?) where he proceeded to deconstruct all of the pivotal points of his life in an honest and often heartfelt fashion, starting with his roots in the slums (that bit stood out for me since it was communicated by a slick split-screen format). And right there the film had me. Its engaging visual style brought it home! Nope, this was not going to be a typical “Ho-Hum” or, “Aim and Shoot” documentary.
What followed rolled out at swift pace without ever missing an emotional beat. We were exposed to more of Tyson’s early great fights while he commented on his downfall which he attributed to women (Boy did he get my sympathy vote on that one). Tyson had no problem in admitting to that and I respected him for his candor as to the subject matter. The documentary's last act sadly did not prod much on his jail time. Too bad because I wanted more meat on that. But at least it focused on Tyson's take on how people around him and the media changed once he was released from prison, how the love he used to have for boxing faded away and what his priorities are now (family). “The past is history, my future is a mystery.” Touching quote from the man! It says it all!
I can't say I have too many issues with the film. I didn't really care for a technique the director used when he cut Tyson repeating some of his words and speeches from various camera angles. I found that distracting. But that was a small hiccup and I easily got over it. The only other thing I could pick at was that I wished the documentary would have been longer, due to the fact that the subject matter was quite enticing. I wanted more! Then again, that's a compliment!
TYSON, as a film and a documentary worked on every level; emotionally, visually, substance and pacing wise. If documentaries are not your piece of cake or even TYSON, the man himself, consider giving this one a shot, for it is a cut above the norm and could even make you a Tyson fan. It did it for me! Damn the dude was a killer in the ring! He was the “BADDEST”! Check this one out and see why!