Sony Pictures, under Writer/Director James Toback (read interview), presents Tyson: a raw, uninhibited portrait of one of history’s most infamous athletic icons. And who knew that beneath the stalwart 260 pound presence of Mike Tyson, lies a pervasively complex, and innately vulnerable human being?
I’m going to submit to shame right here, right now, and admit that before this film I knew NOTHING of Mike Tyson other than that he was a boxer whose video game “Fight Night” cleaned out my ex-boyfriend’s remaining brain cells. I knew nothing of his colossal success in the ring, three-year incarceration, drug charges, divorce, ear-biting incident, etc. And let’s be honest, with such an enchanting track record of self-inflicted misfortune, who would be inclined to donate this laundry list to James Toback to remind the public with a nationally released feature film? Oh, Mike Tyson!
Through an anthology of original interviews and archival footage, we see Mike Tyson evolve not only as an international super star, but as a human being. From the streets of Brooklyn, to juvi-hall, to being mentored under the legendary Cus D’Amato – we see that Tyson’s desire to fight wasn’t rooted in anticipated success, but rather in a deep-seeded insecurity from childhood bullying. Not even the biggest bully on the Brooklyn block could sock the heavy weight champion of the world. So Tyson signed up.
Re-visiting this chaotic journey with Mike Tyson is inevitably engaging, but I think there’s a level of poignancy to this piece that exceeds the simple notion of an honest portrayal of someone’s life. Mike Tyson sets the record straight without being remotely self-righteous. In fact, he takes complete responsibility, and demonstrates sincere remorse for every single offense he’s committed and evasive situation his name’s been attached to.
Tyson wasn’t intended to be a public apology, but perhaps an opportunity for Tyson to prove that kicking the shit out of a 300 pound boxer doesn’t make you a man – but owning up to your mistakes, and choosing to move forward (no matter how old, and how poorly reputable you are) certainly does.