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Overall Rating
4.65

Awesome84.13%
Worth A Look: 6.35%
Average: 3.17%
Pretty Bad: 3.17%
Total Crap: 3.17%

5 reviews, 33 user ratings


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Murderball
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Now THIS is what an extreme-sports documentary should be like"
5 stars

It was Jean-Luc Godard, I believe, who once said that the best way to critique a movie was to make another movie. This past spring saw the quick release and fade of “Dust to Glory,” a documentary on an extreme-sports subculture–in this case, the world of off-road racing. I didn’t think that film was very good because it didn’t present its subject in a manner that was at all interesting to anyone not already predisposed to the subject. (Of course, some folks disagreed with that assessment and responded with missives chock-full of death threats, grotesque homophobia and even more grotesque spelling errors.) Instead of patiently explaining in detail to them why I disliked the film, I can now simply point them in the direction of “Murderball,” an electrifying new documentary that also takes a look at a physically demanding niche sport, yet does so in such a compelling and compulsively watchable manner that even those with no interest in sports will find themselves utterly captivated by it.

Inspired by, of all things, an article in “Maxim” magazine, the film turns its cameras on the world of quadriplegic rugby–an astonishingly brutal version of the game played by intensely competitive individuals slamming around in armor-plated wheelchairs–it takes a look at the members of the US Paralympic Games team (not the Special Olympics, they want you to know) and their lives as they prepare for a championship battle against their bitter Canadian rivals, a team coached by Joe Soares, a former US legend who missed the cut for the ‘96 team and who, purely out of spite and revenge, went to Canada to coach their team instead.

Although the film, co-directed by Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro, is never sentimental for a moment (we see the players as they drink, curse, smash each other around and obsess about sex), they have come up with a film that is simultaneously hilarious, brutal and touching. More importantly, it contains, in Soares and American star player Mark Zupan, two of the most electrifying characters you will see on a movie screen this year. These are not two sports rivals who are nevertheless brothers under the skin because of their common disability–these are two guys who hate each others guts with a violent fury and each would be perfectly happy to crush the other like a bug if given the chance. Their mutual hatred is palpable and gives the film an added kick that another documentary on the same subject probably would have chosen to avoid.

Not just a good movie about the world of handicapped sports, “Murderball” is one of the most compelling and entertaining films–documentary or otherwise–of the year and it is one of the best sports-related films ever made.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11206&reviewer=389
originally posted: 07/22/05 13:45:48
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Independent Film Festival of Boston. For more in the 2005 Independent Film Festival of Boston series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Deep Focus Film Fest For more in the 2005 Deep Focus Film Fest series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sydney Film Festival For more in the 2005 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Atlanta Film Festival For more in the 2005 Atlanta Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
2/20/15 Chris Jarmick Lots of humor, and moves fast. Better than you expect. 4 stars
8/28/08 Shaun Wallner This ones ok. 3 stars
3/08/08 Pamela White shows how much strength these guys have 5 stars
1/31/08 maggie did you know Quad Rugby is co-ed? The film leans on masculinity way too much... 4 stars
1/08/08 mike rented it b/c of ratings on here and was bored out of my mind 2 stars
8/02/07 Madeline Wenmoth I absolutely love this movie so much. totally inspiring. "cray yammi"? you're an idiot. 5 stars
5/08/07 Jennifer this one didn't quite capture my attention... am i horrible? i love shapiro though 2 stars
9/03/06 Ann_G Awesome, incredible movie, watch it before you say quads can't use their arms. 5 stars
8/10/06 Ryan_A Fantastic doc. 5 stars
1/07/06 Indrid Cold Not a masterpiece, but definitely worth a look. Great, very emotional ending. 4 stars
12/09/05 Phil M. Aficionado Indomitable spirits united by a love of team competition; great, inspiring story. 5 stars
12/05/05 Rocky Anyone that isn't touched by this doc must be missing something inside that makes us huma 5 stars
10/14/05 jcjs some quads can use their arms..i helped a quad 50 years in a chair with arm use 5 stars
8/18/05 Maalstrom Entertaining and educational, opens your eyes to another slice of this world 4 stars
8/02/05 Hockeytown the more brutal it is, the more I like it 5 stars
7/25/05 Suke Best documentary I've seen in a long time. Inspiring and moving. 5 stars
7/13/05 Crazyquadrugby A must see for anyone that knows or is a Quad!! 5 stars
7/13/05 crazy yammi quads cant use their arms get a dictionary 5 stars
7/05/05 George Hatch One of the best and most inspiring documentaries I've seen this year. 5 stars
6/29/05 Jenn22 Unbelieveble 5 stars
6/22/05 Naka "Not recommended !!!!" Piss off. 5 stars
5/31/05 Johanna Hewlett Brown Well-done film that shows the many obstacles and joys in the lives of these people. 5 stars
5/31/05 Steve Excellent film. Go see it. 5 stars
5/01/05 herrinfamily none 3 stars
4/28/05 Braxton Williams Moving, funny, exciting, a real eye-opener, and more than I expected 5 stars
4/20/05 Josh amazing 5 stars
3/17/05 Glenn Worthman 1000 people roared when the credits rolled at SXSW 5 stars
2/02/05 Chris The movie is going to change alot of people perceptions of guys in chairs. It kicks Ass !! 5 stars
1/27/05 Lissa This movie depicts quad rugby perfectly. It's educational and entertaining! 5 stars
1/25/05 rachel gilli incredible, inspiring, a must see! 5 stars
1/22/05 Doris Roberts Unique ,thought provoking 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Jul-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 29-Nov-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  15-Sep-2005




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