Friday, May 29, 2009

Tyson The Man, Is More Than Just The Myth

Movies seldom give the viewer such a deep and personal look into the life of any one like we get in the documentary "Tyson" Written and directed by long time friend of the star, James Toback takes us on a journey through the mind of a man who is little more than a child. Tyson talks about how hard his life was growing up in New York, that he tries to be as honest as he is in the movie is refreshing, usually we get the "I was misunderstood" line, Tyson doesn't try to sugar coat anything. He tells of his youth where he meets gangsters, and how he helped them because he was small and he could get his hands into the pockets of the people they were robbing. Tyson tells of his addictions, and his being an alcoholic. Tyson tells us about his first manager Cus D'Amato, how Tyson feels that Cus saved his life. How the training that Cus put Mike through was what taught him self respect. Tyson talks openly about Cus, he fights back tears several times as his love for the one man in his life that didn't use him is brought out. These are amazing scenes, that the movie doesn't use enough of.

What the movie does use are fight sequences between Tyson and several of the fighters he has beaten in his career. Fights with Trevor Berbick, James 'Buster' Douglas and both fights between Tyson and Evander Holyfield, the one that Tyson lost is explained easily by Tysons lack of training. The fight scenes are sometimes as brutal to watch again as they once were to watch when Tyson was beating opponents in under three minutes. Tyson became a boxing machine in the ring only to see his self-confidence and inner demons take over his life outside the ring. The man that Cus developed was torn apart upon the death of the man whom Tyson looked at as his mentor and father. Tyson literally destroyed himself from the inside out. He met several woman and developed relationships with them, seeing an actress on television and being worth millions of dollars he thought he could pick up the phone and just have her, the relationship that did develop between Tyson and Robin Givens didn't last all that long, they married young, a fact that Tyson still blames for the breakup, a breakup that America watched with interest as Barbara Walters interviewed the couple one night on television.

Little new information comes out, we get a personal look from the man who has made a life for himself by beating people up, the tender moments he shares with his children are heart warming to see, it gives the viewer pause, Tyson isn't know for these tender moments, and if we got more of these, we could almost feel sorry for the man, his legend has made him into a person that you wouldn't want to meet alone at night, his ferocious temper is legendary, and the fight with Holyfield where he bites his ear off is just glossed over, like it was no big deal, his last loss is also glossed over, it was "I don't have it in me any more, I just needed to pay some bills" this is refreshing but did we really know he no longer cared about the one sport that made him the legend that he became. We know of his relationship with promoter and con man Don King, and its sweet justice to hear the vile names that Tyson calls the man, we get a few seconds about the woman that brought Tyson to his knees, Desiree Washington and the rape accusation that imprisoned Tyson for three years, he says that he didn't ever take anything from a woman that wasn't given to him. Tyson speaks candidly about all the woman and sex that he did have, he claims that on nights before fights he didn't take serious, he had sex to calm down. The only problem with this type of movie is that we get insight from one person, the views that we get are like mail order, its nothing like the truth. what we see on the screen isn't what we got in real life. Tyson was an animal in the ring and after years of living his drastic life style it was carried into his life outside the ring. I'm sure that some facts were distorted, to be more beneficial to Tyson, and that's to be expected. Don't expect fair and balanced, but also don't expect him to pull any punches he tells it his way and for me that's alright.

I give Tyson a 3 and on my avoidance scale a 1, there are other more fascinating movies to watch, grab this one when it comes around on DVD, it is well worth the time that it requires to watch, you will walk away with a better understanding of just how much determination it takes to stand in the ring toe to toe with another man that wants nothing more then to beat the snot out of you. That's just how gripping this movie is.

Tyson is rated R for Language Including Sexual References
Running time is 1 hr. 30 mins.

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