Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review - Tyson

A documentary that uses archive footage and original interviews to illustrate Mike Tyson's rise in the boxing industry to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Iron Mike Tyson reflects on his past relationships, time spent training and fighting, his infamous jailtime and his rise and fall in the boxing world.

James Toback's documentary titled "Tyson" is a interesting film that does a great job of chronicling Mike Tyson's life through the boxer's own eyes, however the film fails to leave any real impact or significance. While the boxer's rise to glory is well executed through interviews and archival footage, once you get to the downfall of Mike Tyson, the film like the boxers later career leaves something to be desired. Tyson equates his downfall to the loss of his mentor and trainer Cus D'Amato. While this loss must have been extremely hard on the young boxer, Tyson puts most of the blame of his failures to lack of passion for the sport. Unfortunately, this leaves the viewer to realize Mike Tyson had just given up and for the better part of his later career was just going through the motions. It also raises questions as to whether Tyson really did lose his passion or did he just use it as an excuse to cover up his diminishing skills.

The Tyson interviews are easily the most powerful part to the film, but even Tyson reveals that most of his explanations feel like nothing more than well rehearsed excuses for his failures. The shots utilized during all of the interviews are well edited and the various camera angles add a layer to the film that makes Mike Tyson seem far more human than ever before. More simply, Tyson lets his guard down during the interviews and it makes for the better moments of the documentary.

The "Tyson" documentary also does a quality job of breaking down one of Tyson's more infamous fights, the rematch versus Evander Holyfield where Tyson bit Holyfield's ear. Tyson explains his motivations for the actions that got him disqualified and ultimately ended the match. Hearing Tyson describe his suffering during this fight is completely captivating and like most of the film does a great job of making a boxing legend into a real man who has fears, pain and suffers just like the rest of us.

"Tyson" is definately worth a watch, especially for fans of Mike Tyson. Tyson opens himself up during the documentary to make himself more human, however the boxer does unfortunately shy away from some of his more controversial topics like his divorce with Robin Givens, attack on Don King and jail time for rape. The film moves at a quick pace and does not lose your attention during it's 90 minute running time. More so, the film really compells the viewer throughout the first half. The second half however, is more of a downer chronicling the illustrious boxer's downfall, ultimately leaving the viewer distraught with how easily Tyson allowed his career to slip through his fists. Overall, "Tyson" was a good documentary that is well executed, but unfortunately leaves no impact or importance when all is said and done.