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Traces the rise and fall of former Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.
For more about Tyson and the Tyson Blu-ray release, see Tyson Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 17, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Mike Tyson, Robin Givens
Director: James Toback
» See full cast & crew
Tyson Blu-ray Review
'Tyson' is a knockout on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 17, 2009
Once I'm in the ring, I'm a god. No one can beat me.
There was a time when boxing was a powerhouse of American sport. Perhaps the greatest one-on-one sport ever to enthrall audiences, big-time fights seemed to come with plenty of hype, anticipation, and pre-fight chatter amongst fans, pundits, and, of course, the fighters themselves. The sport's rich history finds itself perhaps behind only baseball as the ultimate in hypothetical historical match-ups and passionate hours-long back-and-forth exchanges between know-it-all fans with plenty of bias, stretched truths, and out-and-out falsehoods tossed hither and thither to support claims that are wild, real, and somewhere in between. Who would win, the Big Red Machine of the 1970s or the Murderer's Row New York Yankees? Muhamed Ali or Mike Tyson? Sadly, the sport has entered the 21st century with a dwindling roster of stars that has erased the sheen of the once-unstoppable freight train that was boxing, and Heavyweight division in particular. Just as Simon & Garfunkel pondered the whereabouts of Joe DiMaggio, fight fans have been asking the same question of their sport's preeminent weight class. Names that compete with the likes of Ruth, Jordan, Montana, and Lemieux as some of the most impressive in the history of sport have all but vanished from the landscape; a sport that boasts an all-time roster of Muhammad Ali, Jack Johnson, George Foreman, Jack Dempsey, Lennox Lewis, Riddick Bowe, Rocky Marciano, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Sonny Liston, and Mike Tyson now lacks the star power to attract audiences and, more importantly, schedule fights to compete with some of boxing's all-time greatest match-ups: Ali vs. Frazier, Ali vs. Foreman, or Tyson vs. Hollyfield.
One of the last great fighters in the last great era of boxing, "Iron" Mike Tyson is unfortunately better remembered for criminal charges, tattoos, and ear bites than for the raw talent and unquestioned will to win at any cost that made him one of the most feared fighters in the history of the sport and, arguably, the best of the best of the last of the great generation of heavyweight boxers. Tyson takes viewers behind the veneer and into the soul of the man that was once an unbeatable force of flesh, muscle, power, and speed, the prototypical fighter with everything to prove and even more to gain. Born into a broken home in Brooklyn, New York, Mike Tyson struggled with a difficult childhood; the object of ridicule amongst his peers, the future champ turned his frustration and anger into something special, a rigorous and ferocious fighting style that would serve him well on the streets and, later, in the ring, earning him countless millions, the adoration of fight fans the world over, and perhaps more importantly, tempt him to lose focus on the prize and instead fall into the traps that would see him tumble not to the glove of an opponent's body blow but instead to the vices of the world. Tyson presents the man and only the man in one of the most personal and raw documentaries ever to grace the screen, told through his own recollections that encompass a life of spectacular successes and poignant tragedies. This is his story.
Tyson's success stems not from a detached historical account of its subject but instead because of its brutally honest first-person perspective. The aptly-named Tyson features the boxer's story in his own words, his own memories, and most importantly, his own emotions that often get the best of him as he looks back on a life wrought with difficulties but dotted by incredible victories both personal and professional. Mike Tyson comes off as an ordinary man with an extraordinary talent, the two continuously clashing throughout his 40-year life as the will to overcome the odds and to become the defender of his own domain by never again allowing himself to fall victim to the ridicule of others and the harsh realities of the world makes for a fascinating story that's made all the more enthralling thanks to Tyson's own honest and emotionally charged recollection of the events that led him to become one of boxing's most feared fighters and storied champs. Save only for a few scattered news clips that set a tone or reinforce a point, Tyson never strays from its captivating perspective that allows the former champion to frame his story on his own terms, its narrative style and its subject's wide-open soul its greatest assets. Perhaps most fascinating of all, different audiences will walk away from Tyson with differing perspectives on the man's life, at least as it is told in his own words. Some will come to find only reinforcement for the belief that Tyson is but a nobody with a strong right hook and a lack of self control, while others will see a troubled soul with good intentions but lacking the wherewithal to successfully meld professional triumphs with personal success. Either way, Tyson makes for one of the best films of its kind as it provides a fascinating look into the life of one of contemporary America's most troubled yet undeniably alluring individuals.
Tyson Blu-ray, Video Quality
Tyson suits up on Blu-ray with a quality 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer. Tyson employs plenty of vintage stock footage from the 1980s and 1990s; this standard definition material doesn't look pretty but it does reflect the quality of the broadcasts of that era and can't look any better than it does here. It's just part of the show and accepting the raw and rugged look of much of the film and concentrating on the subject material will greatly improve upon one's appreciation for the quality of the Blu-ray transfer. The newly-minted high definition interview clips with Mike Tyson, however, generally look strong; the segments offer rather high detail in the close-up shots of the film's subject. Facial hair, pores, scars, and his tattoo appear incredibly lifelike and vivid in the high definition spotlight. The set is well-lit by natural sunlight pouring through windows; as a result, backgrounds tend to be blown out and lost in the light, but the images of the champ in the foreground don't suffer as a result. Tyson delivers what may be best described as an incredibly plain and simple image, and the Blu-ray does a generally fabulous job with the material.
Tyson Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Tyson enters the ring with a front-heavy Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The film's dialogue is occasionally hard to hear due in part to lackluster source material in some of the vintage clips, and partially thanks to Tyson's rather thick lisp. The musical presentation is adequate throughout, this being the track's only real chance to stretch its legs a bit. There's a fair amount of clarity and a good sense of space to the music as it plays primarily through the front speakers. Tyson features next-to-no rear channel activity; a dialogue-centric presentation with the occasional sound effect -- for instance splashing waves in several exterior shots -- marks the only true departure from one of the most straightforward yet sufficiently effective soundtracks available on the Blu-ray market today.
Tyson Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Tyson knocks its way onto Blu-ray with a healthy dosage of extras. First up is a commentary track with Director James Tobak. A well-spoken and informed track, Tobak discusses not only the work but the man, offering some fascinating insights into Tyson's life and career that may not jump immediately out upon an initial viewing of the film. A Day With James Tobak (1080i, 16:11) follows the director on the day of the film's premiere. It covers him conducting telephone interviews, reviewing the impressive guest list of stars that are scheduled to attend the premiere, speaking with questioners on several issues revolving around the film, the arrival of Mike Tyson and guests, and more. Iron Mike: Tobak Talks Tyson (480p, 11:49) features the director discussing the film and its subject by answering several questions, intercut with clips from the film. James Tobak on 'The Big Picture Show' (1080p, 13:08) again features the director taking questions before and after a screening of the film, the piece again intercut with plenty of footage from the film. This Blu-ray release of Tyson is also BD-Live enabled and contains a collection of 1080p trailers for Tyson, Sugar, Rudo y Cursi, Moon, Whatever Works, Waltz With Bashir, and Redbelt.
Tyson Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Neither Tyson nor its singular subject pull any punches; there's a fascinating film here that dares to tell its story not in the more traditional first- and third-person retrospective but instead by simply allowing its subject to tell his own story in his own time and in his own words. Moving, raw, and fascinating from beginning to end, James Toback's Tyson is a benchmark documentary that's sure to be the standard for years to come. Sony's Blu-ray release of this captivating motion picture befits the subject material. Though neither the picture nor sound qualities are of the highest overall standards, they represent the intended feel of the film superbly, and the disc is rounded out by a fine assortment of special features. Recommended.
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Tyson Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - August 18th - August 18, 2009
Like most individual-based sports, boxing is defined by its stars - those men and women who can dominate their opponents with a combination of flawless technique and debilitating power. Somewhat unique to boxing is the need for the stars to win the hearts and minds ...
• Tyson Blu-ray Gets Detailed - June 30, 2009
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed the Blu-ray release of the documentary 'Tyson', which will hit store shelves on August 18, day-and-date with the DVD. Video will be 1.85:1 AVC accompanied by a lossless 5.1 English audio track, ...
• Tyson Documentary Coming to Blu-ray - June 26, 2009
In an early announcement to retailers, it has been revealed that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release 'Tyson' on Blu-ray on August 18. No audio or video specifications are available, but you can expect a 1.78:1 AVC video encode accompanied by a lossless ...
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