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Reviewed on 2009-06-05
Received[2.5]  out of 4 stars
This one-sided documentary from writer/director James Toback gives you a taste of what it’s like to be Iron Mike Tyson.

Tyson either in tight close-ups or on a split screen delivers a rambling monologue of recollections from his life that took place both in and outside the ring. His non-stop diatribe grows old and tiresome as his boxing career goes down the tubes.

This fascinating character study never allows for anyone else’s opinion on this complex individual. Most fans of boxing know all about Tyson’s exploits in the ring.

His technique of psychological intimidation, brute strength, lightning speed and devastating power elevated him to the heavyweight championship at age 20 in 1986.

Tyson grew up in a tough, poverty-stricken Brooklyn neighborhood. He was a street smart crook in his youth. He spent time in a juvenile detention center. He gets all choked up and tears come to his eyes when discussing his legendary trainer Cus D’Amato.

This old white man had the greatest influence on his life. There was a trust and a deep affection as Cus became the father Tyson never had. He taught Tyson discipline and the psychology of boxing. He motivated Tyson through positive reinforcement.

The movie selects fight footage from various bouts displaying Tyson’s punching power and speedy first round knockouts. Tyson even takes you through his strategy and thought process from putting on the gloves in his dressing room, the long walk to the ring and an actual fight.

Tyson admits that his greatest weakness is women. He followed the traditional ironclad rule of abstaining from sex prior to a fight. His eight-month marriage to actress Robin Givens is explained away with the comment-“we were just kids.”

Tyson talks about the qualities he seeks in a female companion and how he enjoys dominating them completely. He claims innocence for the conviction of rape and deviant sexual misconduct that sent him to prison for three years.

The movie seems much longer than ninety minutes and borders on a therapy session with the audience serving in the role of psychology counselor. The frequent shots of Tyson standing on a beach watching the waves are a signal that there is not much more to say about success slipping through his fingers.

The movie tries hard to gain your sympathy for this troubled individual who admits that he never thought he would miraculously live to be 40. This documentary shot on high-definition video is now playing exclusively at the Cinemark Palace on the Plaza.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


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