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TV review: ‘Taking on Tyson’

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Mike Tyson loves birds, can you tell?

The Details

Taking on Tyson
two and a half stars
Sundays, 10 p.m., Animal Planet

James Toback’s fascinating 2008 documentary Tyson offered a revealing, raw look into the life of controversial and troubled ex-boxer Mike Tyson, showing him as both surprisingly thoughtful and disturbingly volatile. Now three years later, Animal Planet has put Tyson back in the spotlight with a lot more gimmickry surrounding him: The reality series Taking on Tyson has the boxer in his New York hometown training racing pigeons alongside a team of TV-ready supporting characters. Narrated by actor Michael K. Williams and filled with artsy slow-motion shots of Tyson interacting with his birds, the show is both too self-serious and too superficial, reducing every potential insight about Tyson’s life to something having to do with his love for pigeons. The angle is admittedly unique, but it doesn’t quite succeed as either a compelling documentary or an involving reality show. You’d be better off renting Toback’s excellent film instead, and just forgetting about the pigeons.

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