MOVIE REVIEW: Tyson Packs a Fascinating Punch


Tyson, by writer and director James Toback, takes an honest and insightful look at Mike Tyson’s triumphs and battles throughout his life both in and out of the boxing ring, narrated by the former fighter himself.

Toback has been a lifelong friend to Mike Tyson, and you can almost feel the heart of that friendship in every frame of this feature. This is not because he has chosen to portray a controversial figure in a biased positive light, but rather because he allows his subject to express himself, and in his own way, directs the audience to listen. Toback never judges or spins, but his part of the deal is that in return, no subject is off-limits to be discussed and explained through Tyson’s own words regarding his turbulent history.

The end result is a fascinating tale. Tyson is a lean 90 minutes long, but in it, you’ll hear deep personal reflections from the former heavyweight champion’s about almost every aspect of his life. If anything, Tyson delivers on giving the audience a very private perspective on a very public individual.

If I have a complaint about the film, it’s one I’m wavering on. I wish that I could recommend this movie for everyone to see, but what prevents from doing that is some of the very graphic language used in the film. The reason I waiver is because while it’s crude and may make some people uncomfortable, his language choices are part of his character and so to omit them, or edit him, would take away from fascinating nature of the movie.

What’s most interesting about this documentary is that regardless of what your view is of Mike Tyson- love him, hate him, or don’t know enough to care- your perception of him after the movie will probably be changed from what it was going in. I think I have to recommend this film to most audiences, just on the basis of intrigue and success in portraying an interesting man in a light not yet before seen.

Final Grade A

EM Review
By Christopher Troilo
Originally Posted 5.07.2009

1 Comment

  1. I can't imagine Tyson being a very sympathetic character, but I'm intrigued by this nonetheless.

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