All major sports stars, particularly ones from the major sports of baseball, soccer, American football, basketball and hockey, get the popularity treatment. This not only includes press but also marketing along the lines of clothing, media and other collectible knick knacks. For other sports, such as boxing, there are usually a few athletes that stand out that get the most attention during and after their careers. Muhammad Ali immediately comes to mind as one of the greatest boxers ever, and justifiably gets a book or documentary made about him every other year. Unlike the accolades of Ali, the other boxer that never seems to go away in terms of popularity is Mike Tyson.
Mike Tyson has a boatload of DVDs dedicated to his career, many of which are the typical rehashing of his countless, quick fights. A few more recent offerings are dedicated to the dramatic life of the boxer, with Tyson often giving hindsight observations about what his life was really like. Tyson Unleashed is unique from the rest of the media releases and not necessarily in a good way. In truth, it doesn’t hide its intentions as a mere cash grab.
Picture yourself in large, cavernous warehouse in the modestly sized city of Petersborough in England. Lots of guys with cameras, a few women who have dates with the camera guys, and many round, white-clothed tables that don’t look they’ve been eaten on. They’re all glued to a portly guy named Steve Bunce who stands on a long, collapsible stage and is trying to get them excited for the evening.
For the first eleven minutes of the DVD, Bunce introduces a lot of people to come up onstage and sit at a large table behind him. By the way, none of these people are named Mike Tyson. Given that the entire length of the main part of the DVD is nearly fifty minutes, the viewer is forced to watch a fifth of the video’s length without much of a sight of Tyson. In the end, aside from a few references from Tyson, these people are virtually ignored for the rest of the film.
Finally Tyson is introduced and escorted to the stage by guards. People have their cameras out and are trying to take a picture of the man who looks a lot smaller in a nice suit. Once he gets onstage Tyson takes a seat and is asked the expected questions regarding a boxer reflecting on his career. This continues for thirty minutes or so. Most of Bunce’s questions are predictable and have been posed many times before in print. Therefore, unless you actually want to watch the words directly come out of Tyson’s lips, much of the discussion has already been written elsewhere.
Like most boxers, Mike Tyson is not a man of poetic words. He comes across as a nice, humble former boxer who is grateful for everyone’s applause. Tyson appears to speak genuinely and seems willing to talk about any subject that Bunce enthusiastically brings up. Since Tyson tends to ramble on at points, expect a few replies that, as Bunce himself says at one point, garners a “That is an answer.” response. There are a few moments where Tyson gets rather animated (women) as well as legitimately honest (ear-biting), so overall Tyson doesn’t disappoint.
At the end of the interview there’s a Q&A session that unfortunately descends into chaos with people fighting over a microphone that eventually goes missing. There isn’t much editing or order for this period, so the viewer will just have to wait it out while observing a little bit of incoherency. The interview ends with a thud.
The extras on the DVD consist of a thirty minute, minimally edited piece of film entitled “The Birdman of Boxing”. Yep, it’s all about pigeons. There’s also a lengthy clip that is entitled “Mike Tyson Backstage Interviews”, but it’s only a bunch of short clips of people not named Mike Tyson chatting with a wooden, yet pretty Yvette Rowland. Bunce comes across as a bit of a self-aggrandizing kind of guy, whereas everyone else is just happy to be there. Unless you like staring at Rowland, this is skipworthy.
If you know all about Mike Tyson’s childhood, his rise and fall, and his troubled personal life then you’ve seen this DVD already. The main reason that anyone might trudge through this recording is if they’re fascinated by Tyson’s delivery. If that is the case, one should spend their time more wisely.
Ultimately, this DVD is not critically necessary for anyone to watch. Not only is nothing new introduced, but given the slap dash nature of the production it’s not even pretty to look at. The title of Tyson Unleashed is rather amusing in of itself, as there’s nothing truly momentous or staggering that Tyson does or says. Instead, the DVD comes across more as “Tyson Having a Pleasant Chat in Petersborough”.
Unless you are a die-hard fan of Tyson who must see everything related to Mike Tyson countless times, there are much better resources already made that are more informative and enjoyable regarding the beleaguered former champ.