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R
| | 1 hr 25 min | Documentary, Sports Film

This 2005 documentary follows a group of young American athletes competing in their sports' highest level of competition. In this case, unlike most sports movies, that competition is at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, and these men are members of the US national quadriplegic rugby team. Beyond the story of these events, the film also serves as an introduction to quadriplegic rugby for the many viewers originally unfamiliar with it: their sport, originally called "Murderball" before its current more politically-correct name, is energetic, violent, and played entirely by wheelchair-bound athletes, who have modified their chairs to suit their own abilities and allow the extreme skills needed to play rugby from a seated position.

Beyond the immediate plot found by following the team's progress in their competition, Murderball also includes insight into the lives and thoughts of the members of the team, who are introduced to the audience as the overarching sports story continues. One of the original team members, Joe Soares, discusses the effects that led to his leaving the American team, despite being one of the highest-ranking performers in the sport. As he did not make the final cut for the US competing team, Soares went over to become the lead coach for the Canadian quadriplegic rugby team. This instigates one of the major conflicts in the film, the intense competition between Team US and Team Canada, a rivalry only compounded by Soares' defection from his country of origin.

Over the course of the film, the documentary follows as the team makes it all the way to the 2004 Paralympics. However, one of the final, most touching focuses is as the sport not only leads Soares to realize that his family is really what is most important to him, but also helps a young man named Kevin begin to come to terms with his disability. At the end of the film, Mark Zupan, a central figure from the US team, shows how quadriplegic rugby can continue to empower a new generation.

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Stars
Keith Cavill, Joe Soares, Mark Zupan, Andy Cohn, Bob Lujano
Director
Henry Alex Rubin, Henry-Alex Rubin
Language
English
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