James Toback and Mike Tyson hook up meaningfully in Tyson, the filmmaker's documentary portrait of the former undisputed heavyweight champion, and the attraction for both sides is obvious.

James Toback and Mike Tyson hook up meaningfully in Tyson, the filmmaker's documentary portrait of the former undisputed heavyweight champion, and the attraction for both sides is obvious.

Toback's films have often dripped with testosterone, and he's had an onscreen relationship with Tyson since 1999's Black and White. The format Toback chooses for his latest allows Tyson not just to open up in his own words about his fears and failings, but to do it without contradiction.

The result is a fascinating view of masculine power and its allure, also a film that's distractingly one-sided and occasionally more than a little creepy.

It begins with Tyson in his prime, taking the title from Trevor Berbick in 1986. Using only archive material and Tyson's frequently candid, direct-to-camera monologues (often, with split-screen, both at once), the film recounts a childhood of being bullied, teenage years shaped by veteran trainer Cus D'Amato and the problems that came with massive success as a professional boxer.

The inherent problems in Toback's approach come through most profoundly when the subject turns to women. The filmmaker makes the questionable decision to juxtapose Tyson's expressed wish to dominate women sexually with shots of him on a romantic beachside stroll, then handles the fighter's 1991 rape conviction about as well as Tyson handled Evander Holyfield.