This remarkable, always riveting documentary isn't hardly the ultimate word on heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. Yet, Tyson, whatever preconceptions lie with this complex man, is hardly less than a cinematic knockout.
James Toback, who's known Tyson for at least two decades, and noted director (Two Girls and a Guy) and writer (the acclaimed Bugsy), gives Tyson carte blanche to give his side of his whirlwind life from his scenic L.A. mansion.
Life was tough as a boy in Brooklyn, as he found boxing to be the kind of discipline he needed to get out of a juvenile detention center.
Mike's drive to be not only successful, but the best of the best, led not only to extreme wealth, but hedonism that really led to a steep decline in the 90s. From the headlines there were two marriages, a rape conviction with incarceration, and the ravenous encounter in the ring with Evander Holyfield.
This unexpected therapy lets one into someone who's a little on the edge and self-effacing, as Tyson lost his ability to trust in those who meant so much in life as he became one of the most dominant fighters of his (all-too) brief time. Even some who are repelled by the sight of him might be surprised of what has resulted from fear and paranoia, more than just admitting of being a jerk. He's someone who still doesn't mind the opportunity to poke fun at his persona, if the upcoming movie The Hangover is any indication.
Toback works with his troubled, racked subject in quite a creative collage, from archival footage to old photos and some (well-known) interviews. The editing is particularly impressive, often with screen splitting up to provide more atmosphere and emotion to allow much to rise from a masked bravado.
Crisply surging, swirling images consistently involve one into how willpower can do so much to overcome a letdown on the social and spiritual fronts. Tyson has no clear-minded aspirations (no perspective from those who covered him, other boxers, or those like Don King or Robin Givens) unfolding with sheer visual force from the physical and psychological of major blunders and past glory.