Tuesday, May 26, 2009


This documentary uses Mike Tyson himself to review the life and career of a man whose brilliant boxing was lost when he was charged with rape. And of course, when he bit off part of Holyfield's ear. It's easy to see Tyson as a fighting animal- ready to kill. He describes his rage at Holyfield at one point- and wanting to kill him in the ring. Yet, when he talks about his childhood and the bullies he had to fight, when he talks about not wanting to ever fight or hurt anyone, a little part of the viewer believes him. I think Tyson believes himself. But he is probably wrong. His early career bond to his trainer, Cus D'Amato, is that of a child to a parent. Tyson is fatherless and when he gets the guidance and training of D'Amato, he becomes a fighter of unbelievable speed and strength. Perhaps Tyson's future would have been different had Cus lived. In the archival footage, it is almost impossible to see some of his punches- they are that fast. But then, on a rape conviction Tyson denies, he goes to prison for 3 years. Prison is a horrible experience for Tyson. There is still fear and sadness in his eyes when he speaks of his prison experience. He is afraid he will die- because prisoners have nothing to lose and to take down Mike Tyson would be the ultimate status. He knows he is vulnerable there. But he makes it out. The most interesting thing about this documentary is how Tyson varies from a childlike view of the world to becoming a menacing and brutal machine. He sheds tears. But he is always on the lookout for the next bully. This is a very strong film. You cannot walk away from it without an opinion. But you will walk away sure of the incredible talent of the boxing skills Tyson possessed. And maybe pity for the man that circumstance shaped.