This eight-part limited series (Mike) was made without the cooperation or endorsement of Mike Tyson. The boxer has claimed that the producers have “stolen my life story” later adding “Hulu is the streaming version of the slave master. They stole my story and didn’t pay me.”
The series was created by the team behind I, Tonya, the 2017 movie about controversial Olympic Ice Skater Tonya Harding. The movie was a hit with both critics and audiences, and it looks like the producers of Mike are hoping to recreate that success.
What Is Mike About?
For those that don't know, Mike Tyson was the American boxing champion who became the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion in 1987.
Despite not being regarded as the most technically gifted boxer, his punching strength and aggression made him one of the most terrifying fighters to ever step into the ring.
Nicknamed “Iron Mike” and later known as “The Baddest Man on the Planet” Tyson holds the record as the youngest boxer ever to win a heavyweight title at the age of 20.
At the height of his boxing career and celebrity, Tyson was one of the most recognisable people on the planet. Unfortunately, his personal and boxing life was often overshadowed by controversy.
In this series, we see all the drama play out with Mike's marriage to actress Robin Givens, drug problems, ear-biting scandal and his conviction for rape in 1991.
The Eight-Part Series
With Tyson's one-man show (Undisputed Truth) acting as the series narrative device, we meet Mike on stage telling his life story to a large theatre audience.
As the boxer covers the major events in his career and personal life, the series flashes back to give an in-depth look at the people and experiences that shaped him.
Each episode is around 25 minutes, making it perfect binge-watching material. The mix of drama, boxing and Mike Tyson's crazy life makes for engaging viewing. It's fair to say that with so much going on, the series sometimes feels like it's biting off more than it can chew.
The show does a good job of building up Tyson's boxing career and how he became heavyweight champion. However, the focus on his private life often feels like it's at the expense of his boxing story.
While some viewers might be interested in Mike Tyson's love life, for boxing fans, the series might feel like it's missing something.
Mike Official Trailer
The Cast of Mike
Trevante Rhodes, star of Bird Box and Moonlight, takes on the challenging role of Mike Tyson.
Rhodes captures the boxer's physicality, mannerisms and speech patterns perfectly. He also manages to show the more vulnerable side to Tyson, which is essential for the series to work.
Rhodes delivers one of the best performances of his career and is ably supported by a strong cast. Laura Harrier plays Tyson's first wife, actress Robin Givens (The Fix). If you saw the 2017 hit movie ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming‘, then you know who she is. She did an excellent job as Givens and will surely get even bigger roles in the future because of her work in this film.
Harvey Keitel also shines as Tyson's trainer Cus D’Amato. He's a movie legend and is always great to watch on screen. Two other cast members worth noting are Russell Hornsby (Don King) and Oluniké Adeliyi who plays Mike's mother.
Where Can I Watch Mike?
Mike is available on Hulu in the United States and Disney+ in most other countries. If you don't have either of those services, you can go online and get a free trial as a new customer.
The series is also available to buy or rent on digital platforms such as iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Prime Video.
Is Mike Worth Watching?
Mike is a fascinating portrayal of a man who has always been in the public eye but remains something of an enigma. Overall, the series is an interesting watch with some excellent performances.
Boxing fans might be a little disappointed with the focus on Tyson's personal life, but there's still enough boxing action to keep them entertained.
The boxing matches are also expertly edited and shot, giving the audience a sense of the true brutality of the sport. I also enjoyed the moments when Mike breaks the fourth wall, speaking directly to the audience.
In the scene where Mike marries Robin Givens, Rhodes turns to the camera and says “Every time I thought something was wrong, I f**ked it up even more.” these scenes are some of the most effective in the series.
The series is well-made, but it often feels like it's trying to cram too much into its eight-episode run. Boxing fans might find themselves wanting more time to explore Mike Tyson's boxing career. Nevertheless, Mike is still an interesting and engaging series that's definitely worth checking out.