Picks and Pans Review: Fallen Champ: the Untold Story of Mike Tyson
This documentary traces the rise and fall of a wild kid from Brooklyn who became heavyweight champion of the world at 20 and ended up in an Indiana prison cell five years later after he was convicted of rape.
Using a rough but illuminating mix of file and fight footage as well as interviews with trainer Kevin Rooney, promoter Butch Lewis, sportswriters and residents of the desolate Brooklyn neighborhood in which Tyson grew up, the film is a poignant profile of the boxer. Tyson's most lethal combination turned out to be the psychological fragility and the psychic fury churning inside him. Together they made him one of the most ferocious fighters in history, and also painfully vulnerable when the waves of fame, riches and opportunists began washing over him.
Director Barbara Kopple (see story, page 65) etches a provocative portrait of a man-child in a brutal sport, of a boxer who was virtually unbeatable in the ring but had few triumphs once the gloves came off.