Tyson - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tyson Reviews

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Market Man
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2012
Don't like how it's told from Tyson's point of view. As usual, he can't take the blame for any of his convictions; it's always someone else's fault. I find his story interesting but the film forces us to feel sympathetic for someone who is a rapist and a criminal. I don't really care for him to be honest, and in fact think he's a big liar. Aside from Mike Tyson, the film is badly edited; the multiple frame transitions become distracting after awhile. Also, James Toback should of interviewed more people to get another perspective on Tyson.
Jack Hawkins
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2009
"Tyson" is a very interesting documentary. It's an inevitably exciting film (as Tyson always was in his career), stylishly showcasing many of Tyson's devastating fights while also sensitively exploring Mike's life before, during and after his career. Tyson, in his trademark frank fashion, reveals in a series of interviews how his rough childhood affected him, and how he discovered that violence was the only form of defence for a scared young boy in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Tyson elaborates on his brief life of crime before he was put in a borstal, where he was taken under legendary trainer Cus D'Amato's wing. Within years, Tyson had become an 18 year-old 218lb monster, a superb heavyweight contender.

The documentary shows his career highs, as well as his painful decline to rock bottom, with Tyson covering his disastrous marriage to Robin Givens, his rape charge (which he vehemently denies), and his controversial losses to Evander Holyfield. 'Tyson' gives a solid overview of his life, it is a taut documentary that is guaranteed to hold your attention through both recent interviews and archive footage. I can imagine some critics will criticise the film's depiction of its leading man. Indeed, the film portrays Mike sympathetically, but Tyson is a remarkably honest man, I know few other public figures of his stature who parallel his frank openness. While the grounds of his rape charge are dubious and open for contention, I feel he is genuine. Despite his past behaviour, Mike being the first to acknowledge it, you can't help but pity him, he has led a life of confusion and interference from his numerous demons.

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Mike Tyson is truly unique and not what one expects. Which is why I advise anyone, particularly those who disregard Tyson, to watch this eye-opener, it won't necessarily change your opinion of the man, but surely you will be admiring his honesty.
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2010
In Tyson, James Toback sets up a camera, sits the ex-champ down on a couch and lets him talk. And cry. And boast. And self-examine. And, mostly, self-justify. Toback calls his subject "a figure of staggering complexity." Actually, he's a figure of rather sad simplicity, a frightened and fatherless boy who grew up brutalized and grew to brutalize other people. That the ring afforded him, for a while, a chance to do that legally made him his fortune -- most of which he went on to throw away. What's doubly tragic is that Tyson still can't understand his own downfall. He was convicted of rape in 1992 and spent three years in prison. On camera now, he angrily declares his innocence, calling his accuser "a wretched swine of a woman." His insistence soon rings a little hollow ("I may have taken advantage of women before, but I never took advantage of her.") When he talks about women -- "I want to ravish them," "I want to dominate them sexually" -- it's in the language of aggression, not affection. Yet Tyson still thinks he's a good guy -- more sinned against then sinning, brought down by "leeches." By only interviewing Tyson, Toback lets him get away with it, too. Do Tyson's ex-wives have anything pertinent to add? Does Evander Holyfield, perhaps, have a differing point of view? It's a good bet, but you won't find them here. Instead, you will find a grab bag of occasional split-screens and sometimes overlapping or echoing dialogue -- all of which does more to obscure than illuminate the self-deceiving subject. It's a long, sad slide show of a man who had everything and lost it. The saddest thing is that this great fighter still doesn't seem to realize that he was his own fiercest opponent. Some elements of Tyson's story are utterly fascinating -- sadly, none of it gets more than a glossed over explanation (surely Tyson's hands-on involvement with the film had a lot to do with that). In the end, this documentary doesn't come anywhere close to recognizing its potential.
Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2009
Well constructed, supremely edited documentary which gets as close to the enigma that is Tyson as one could hope. The fight scenes are electric but despite his candor you still get a very one-sided account of events.
Super Reviewer
October 26, 2009
A very good biography by Tyson himself.
Super Reviewer
½ April 25, 2009
"A boy comes to me with a spark of interest, I feed that spark and in becomes a flame, I feed the flame and it becomes a fire, I fed the fire and it becomes a roaring blaze."

A mixture of original interviews and archival footage and photographs sheds light on the life experiences of Mike Tyson.

What most people remember about Mike Tyson is that while he was a ferocious and dominant fighter in his prime, his character is a different story. He was imprisoned for rape, made obscene comments about his opponents, committed one of the most infamous incidents in all of boxing by biting his opponent's ear, and later became a drug addict facing numerous financial problems.

Which is unfortunate, however, as James Toback's documentary "Tyson" attempts, quite successfully, to dispel the notion of Tyson the savage and show us Tyson the person. He does this by letting Tyson do all the talking, reminiscent of how Errol Morris let Robert McNamara tell his POV in "The Fog of War." And what Tyson tells us about himself adds up to what is probably the most honest documentary you'll see this year. It doesn't even seem like a documentary, conventionally speaking; it's more like a confession, a visual memoir that lends insight into why he acted irrationally many times in his life. You'll get insight as to how he became a boxer, about his legendary trainer and father figure Cus D'amato (In a moving scene, Tyson literally chokes up when recalling D'amato), what he was thinking while preparing for fights, and even his views on women, aided with some very revealing pictures. Of course, like Morris's film, this is all Tyson's story: You will not hear from Robin Givens, Don King, or anyone else. Watching this documentary, however, you come to trust Tyson; and how he bares his soul to the camera is, in some ways, more courageous than facing a formidable opponent in the ring. You feel that not only is Mike Tyson the most honest fighter, but he's also one of the most honest people on this earth.

Toback's documentary manages to be engrossing because he humanizes Tyson, revealing a lesser seen side of the former champion, which is why even non-boxing fans will find this character study fascinating -- it transcends the savagery of the sport and allows us to understand this complicated, contradictory figure. There may be more relevant documentaries out there these days, but it's doubtful they are as honest and revealing as this one.
Super Reviewer
June 19, 2009
A stunning documentary about the rise and fall one of the greatest athletes ever to rise to the sport of boxing. The recount of his turbulant life and career throughout from director James Toback.
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2012
Compelling documentary on a man that I haven't thought very highly of over the years. I truly believe that he just says the first thing that comes into his head and takes it as truth. Unlikeable in his youth, he has become pathetic in old age but this train wreck produces an excellent subject for a film.
Super Reviewer
November 11, 2009
Delightfuly well crafted, this movie will introduce you to the real Mike Tyson - The Man! James Toback made a real treat and the music of Salaam Remi was like a cherry on the top of this artistic sweet!
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2010
A powerful and audaciously original documentary about the rise and fall of world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson as told in his own words. From his climb to the top of the fight game and the infamous celebrity days to his shameful rape conviction and three year prison stint, his battle with drugs and himself. Well directed by JamesToback, a compelling look at one man's ruin. Highly Recommended.
Super Reviewer
½ August 19, 2009
Mike Tyson is no doubt an interesting figure and James Toback's documentary about the former heavyweight champion of the world is also incredibly interesting. Though I had built up alot of anticipation for this with all the critical praise it was recieving, it did not fully live up to its hype, but instead was something different all its own. From the first frame, everything I had imagined the film being went away and 'Tyson' became a simple story told from the mouth of the man it happened to. It is so rare you get to here a first hand account of something as incredible as the rise and fall of one of the greatest boxers ever. We dont get interpretations of what others thought Tyson was going through when he was accused of rape or when he bit Holyfields ear, we hear what was going through his mind and what truly motivated him to act the way he did. Toback uses some interesting techniques in presenting how the mind of Mike works-many times he will overlap the interview footage and do split screens so as to create the scrambled and overloaded feelings Tyson is experiencing as he discusses certain subjects. Toback also uses just the right amount of old footage and photos so as to compliment the stories Tyson is telling instead of actually letting them tell the story. Tyson is more articulate and comes off more intelligent than one might imagine he would, you can tell he is being sincere and genuine without holding anything back-he is still upset by the loss of his first trainer and probably only true friend he ever had, he verbally destroys Don King and gives respect to fighters you might have expected he despised. The one draw-back to the film is that it has its slow parts while at the end still feeling like it only scrathched the surface of this very complicated figure. We hardly have anything here about the women in Tyson's life other than a few lines about how bad he treated them-we don't really get a sense of Tysons climb from nothing to the champion, and these are key elements that contribute to Tysons actions in his later years which may have recieved more attention than needed seeing as the film is only an hour and a half. The film is still very much worth watching despite feeling a bit cheated by such an engaging figure and the opportunity to have him spill everything, we feel there is so much more Mike could say-but if one thing is made clear it is that Mike Tyson is not the man you would think he is, and being able to make people understand Mike Tyson as a person is an accomplishment Toback should be very proud of.
Super Reviewer
½ January 16, 2010
If you can't stand the sight of Mike Tyson, you will not like this movie. If you find Mike Tyson kind of fascinating, either in a good way or a bad way, then you will find a lot to like in it. I loved that the film was completely told from his perspective. Other documentaries would have included interviews with other people who knew or were inspired by him. It does kind of speed past some of the darker portions of his life, but the rest of the movie is so good that it is forgivable. Tyson is a very interesting speaker, and his story can more than sustain the running time. One of the best documentaries I've seen in quite some time.
Super Reviewer
½ October 8, 2009
I never followed Mike Tyson when he was a famous boxer, but one of my favorite hobbies is looking up Youtube videos of him saying ridiculous things during interviews. I have no idea what this guy?s specific problem is, but he?s clearly quite insane and as such I saw a lot of potential in a movie profiling him. The movie takes the form of an extended interview, Tyson is seen talking directly to the camera and his inquisitor is never seen or heard. Tyson is not completely candid in his answers, but at the same time you get the sense that he really has convinced himself that the spin he puts on the stories are true. Perhaps the most compelling parts are the scenes where he recounts his childhood and the friendship he had with his first trainer Cus D?Amato. The movie?s monologue format was probably the best way to get Tyson to open up as I?m sure he?s weary of the media putting a spin on his own words. But at times the format does seem to hold the film back from its full potential, I felt like there was more to the story that I wasn?t getting.
Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2009
Fascinating! I can't think of a better figure for the subject of a character documentary. I couldn't take my eyes off this! Mike Tyson is so candid and up-front that it's hard not to respect his honesty. To elicit understanding, if not empathy, from this character convicted of rape and guilty of countless other acts of indecency is a feat worthy of high recommendation. What makes this film so commendable is that the director doesn't ask for this, Mike just lays everything out on the table in his brutally honest testimony of his life. If this film suffers from anything, it's the bit of overkill of the editing here and there. A note to the editor, like what Mike should have learned a long time ago, sometimes less is more.
Super Reviewer
September 11, 2009
"I'll be trash and scum but I'll be angelic trash and scum" Perhaps one of the best documentaries I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
August 24, 2009
Unlike Cody, I only knew the "common knowledge" of Tyson's story. So I learned a few things about the man. But if you already know his story, you still get to see an older, somewhat wiser man reflecting on his mistakes, and it was almost touching to see how emotional he was when talking about his first trainer, probably the only positive male role model in his life. Yeah, Toback had to spruce it up with his split screen stuff, which was annoying as hell when he did it during interviews (fortunately not too often), but I thought actually worked well when it was showing highlights of some of his fights. He did however use footage of Tyson standing at the beach waaaayy too much. It got to be a little Josh Fenderman (for all you Mr Show fans).
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2009
I grew up a big fan of Mike Tyson and watched all of his fights on HBO and pay per view. I say that because this doc was entertaing, but produced no new information. It was more of a walk down memory lane than really learning about the man. HBO Sports used to run Tyson specials back in the '80's that provided more insight than this film. The problem is Toback is in love with his style and it really gets in the way. The overlapped sound and picture editing is annoying and the only thing that saves this film is Tyson himself. He is a very interesting character and I would have preferred a film of his press conference freak outs than a movie that Sportscenter has covered. If you know nothing about Iron Mike then this could be for you,but if you are familiar with him then it's just tired old stuff you have seen a hundred times.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2009
Interesting documentary on the ex-heavyweight champion. Unlike other portraits, it's all in his own words, with no outside interviews. It plays almost like a hour and a half monologue. But it had all the old fight footage and he was very honest about his inner demons. Fans of boxing should check this out.
Super Reviewer
May 13, 2009
This was a really good documentary that gives insight on Mike Tyson's life up to this point. Tyson talks about his life before boxing, his career, his 3 years in prison and why he retired. Tyson is a well rounded documentary with a lot of good footage of many points of the boxers life. The movie makes you feel for him but extremely afraid of him as well. He's a dangerous man with a bad temper but he wants to be a better man for the sake of his 6 kids.
Super Reviewer
April 14, 2009
A documentary i just stumbled upon of what used to be my favorite boxer. It shed some insight on what happened at the Lennox Lewis press conference amongst others. a good watch for any of his fans.
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