Displaying items by tag: Mike Tyson

Review: 'Tyson Vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef'

09 August, 2020

Complaining that a Shark Week special was promoted in a misleading way is somewhat like being unhappy when drinking beer doesn't make you more attractive. Hype is hype and while there's nothing wrong with it, you shouldn't be surprised if you're misled a bit while you're being entertained.

Based on the promos for the Discovery Shark Week special Tyson Vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef, you might have thought you were going to see an hour-long battle of the brawn between one of the world's most-recognizable boxers and a massive killer shark. The advertising made for some fun viral moments but all of it has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the actual special. In fact, a more accurate title might have been "Mike Tyson Really Doesn't Like Being In Water." The special in the end is entertaining, albeit in a way that leaves you with the sinking feeling you're been misled.

The special begins with a bunch of hype from someone at the UFC and a boxing match-style introduction that promises a battle for all ages. Which makes it even more jarring when we hear from Mike Tyson. He admits that he doesn't much like water or amphibious creatures and while he won't quite admit to being scared by the prospect of meeting some sharks face-to-face, he's definitely extremely concerned. The plan is for shark experts to take the boxer through three tasks, each with increasing "danger." First, a dive in which Tyson comes face-to-face with some sharks while safely inside a protective shark cage. Then it's a dive to hang with some sharks without a cage, with the final task being surrounded by sharks and then stroking one on the nose until it's put to sleep, a procedure which is called "tonic immobility."

The upside of the special is that Tyson does seem legitimately unnerved by being around sharks. That makes for an entertaining hour of television, even if the closest Tyson gets to "battling" a shark is stroking one on the stout until its immobilized.

It's probably not helpful to wonder just how dangerous these tasks might be in real life. Cynics might suspect that Discovery is not going to take a chance on some shark taking a hunk out of Mike Tyson. And as it turns out, the Caribbean and lemon sharks Tyson interacts with aren't especially dangerous. In fact, these are the types of sharks that are often used in human/shark interaction events. This isn't to say that there was zero danger. But none of this was likely to end up in a "brawl to end all brawls."

Tyson Vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef is pretty much what you expect from a Shark Week celebrity special. It's entertaining, not especially scientifically accurate, and guaranteed to be the topic of conversation at the office tomorrow if any of us were still going to the office.

How you feel about the special also probably hinges on how you feel about Tyson and his past criminal history. In 1992, he was sentenced to six years in jail after being convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman (he served three). He has also admitted to physically abusing wife Robin Givens during their stormy marriage. In a joint interview with Tyson on 20/20 in September 1988, Givens told Barbara Walters that life with him was "torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine." By all accounts, Tyson has his anger under control now. But whether you're willing to give him a second chance will have a lot to say about whether or not you want to see him cavorting with sharks.

Tyson Vs. Jaws: Rumble On The Reef premieres on Sunday, August 9th, 2020 as part of the kick-off night of Discovery's Shark Week 2020.