Murderball

2005

Murderball

Critics Consensus

An entertaining and gripping documentary that shows being confined to a wheelchair doesn't mean the fun has to end.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Reviews Counted: 138

89%
liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,505

TOMATOMETER

N/A
All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0

AUDIENCE SCORE

89%
Average Rating: 3.9/5

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Movie Info

Like any other great sports story, 'Murderball' features fierce rivalry, stopwatch suspense, dazzling athletic prowess, larger-than-life personalities and triumph over daunting odds. But murderball, the original name for the full-contact sport now known as quad rugby, is played by quadriplegics in armored wheelchairs. 'Murderball' is a story like no other, told by men who see the world from a different angle. Quad rugby players have suffered injuries that have left them with limited function in all four limbs. Whether by car wreck, gunshot, fist fight, rogue bacteria or any of an endless list of possible misadventures, quad rugby's young men have found their lives dramatically altered. Watching them in action -- both on court and off -- smashes every stereotype one has ever had about the handicapped. It also redefines what it is to be a man, what it is to live a full life, and what it is to be a winner.

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Critic Reviews for Murderball

All Critics (138) | Top Critics (41)

  • Murderball is no Rocky-esque hymn to the human spirit. It's more like a prison movie...

    Aug 4, 2008 | Full Review…
  • An honest, down-to-earth account of how life goes on for people with disabilities.

    Mar 26, 2007 | Full Review…
  • What emerges is more interesting, thankfully, than a linear offering of sporting triumph in the face of adversity.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Few sports movies with a premise this powerful ever bother to dig this deep.

    Sep 26, 2005

    Tasha Robinson

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Inspiring.

    Sep 24, 2005 | Full Review…
  • This offbeat documentary is inspiring and jaw-droppingly original.

    Aug 26, 2005 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for Murderball

The U.S. and Canadian teams of quadriplegics compete in a rugby-like game called murderball in the paraolympics. The first impression of some of these people is not positive, but nonetheless interesting: they come off as testosterone-fueled assholes, but they're in wheelchairs, so all expectations of this being a feel-good Lifetime after-school special are shot to the moon the first time an paraolympian tells a story about threatening to kick the ass of a random bar patron. But as the film goes on, we get underneath the veneers of these players. There are a few vulnerabilities, but what they want more than your pity is your respect, your fear, and your recognition that their injuries do not threaten their masculinity. The film tries to fashion a sports story out of its subject, but it doesn't work. There isn't a lot of suspense in the games' outcomes. Overall, documentaries often open worlds that we never imagined existed, and what is true of those documentaries is doubly true of Murderball.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

I am a sucker for films like these. It's almost impossible that I was not going to like "Murderball." Anything that involves sports and rage and physical disability and empowerment (empowerment in the awesome, beat-yo-ass way, not empowerment in the "encouraging dialogue" kind of way) is A-OK with me. Mark Zupan is an excellent choice of a hero, all outspoken and solid yet full of rage.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

½

This is a very interesting and memorable documentary blending sports, humanity, and living with being handicapped. These guys may be in wheelchairs, but they take they are badass, and take their brand of rugby, or rather, wheelchair rugby, very seriously. In fact, the film's title comes from the sport's nickname- that's how hardcore these guys are. They're not totally jerk jocks, though. These guys are also family men who just try to continue living life as normally as possible given the circumstances, and this film is just a nice little look into their lives as well as their sport. Good stuff all around. I highly recommend it.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Murderball is a good sports documentary and a great look at living with a disability. On the surface, this film unabashedly celebrates defiant machismo and the competitive spirit but underneath I sensed a more speculative investigation of human motivation, in many different arenas. Murderball is very well structured and edited - a minor complaint - the filming of the wheelchair rugby game sequences left me confused about this relatively unknown sport. That's a minor quibble because most of this inspirational film takes place off the court. "I use everything I have to get through life, We all have to use everything we have."

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

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