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.
This film focuses in individuals & their stories & how they not only deal with their injury but how they move forward & eventually excel.
One particular gentleman who was world champion many many times now coaches Canada & the rivalry in so intense. A touching honest film that was a pleasure to watch.
By far the best sports documentary ever made, including the Baseball mini-series produced by Ken Burns. This movie is so good I am shocked that almost everyone I ask has not only not seen the movie, but most have not heard of it. 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. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature for the 78th Academy Awards. This film is also #1 on the Rotten Tomatoes countdown of the top sports movies of all time.
The people chronicled in Murderball are heroic human beings, and the audience engages with them in terms of sympathies as well as the fact that we can get along with them no problem because they act no different as human beings and take the same approach as everyone else, such as when Mark Zupan points ours how he doesn't want people to sympathise with him merely because he's in a wheelchair, and the angry temperaments the characters have are not injury related, but raw human emotion. That's one of the key things Murderball achieves, it bridges the gap formed by society between those who can walk and those who are wheelchair-ridden. Murderball is sympathetic and humourous, so the atmosphere is absolutely perfect.
On the side of the story that looks into the sport of Murderball, the film is inspiring and rich with the heart of a sports story which is emphasised through classic sports film norms including a mix of strong editing and energetic music.
Murderball chronicles a diverse range of real players and treats them as finely as possible with sophistication and the respect they deserve and emphasises what's important: their determination and fighting spirit which don't play second fiddle to the sentimentality of the insightful look at the characters, and that makes it a sophisticated and powerful story that isn't burdened with excessive attempts to tug at the heart strings. The sports side of Murderball is excellent and inspirational and has a terrific heart to it, and the directional work of Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro deserves absolute immense praise for his work.
Murderball beats out When We Were Kings as the greatest documentary I've ever seen, and it's one I would encourage any sports fanatic, medical student or troubled human being to witness, as well as anyone who generally enjoys an excellent film. This is the finest movie MTV have ever worked on, and the people should be honoured to have their story told so excellently.