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What used to be called Murderball has been renamed Quad Rugby to make it sound more palatable to get sponsors on board, but the game itself hasn't changed: it's murderball. Played on basketball courts by wheelchair bound quadraplegics, it's a crippling sport in which determination and aggression are the paramount skills. That and industrially welded, chariot-like wheelchairs. The competition is fierce, especially at the Paralympics level, and the emotion-charged journey begins in training. But it can get personal ....

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Imagine a sort of kamikaze dodgem car game played in chariots of ire, with a ball that is carried on the lap and the wheelchair carrying the ball over the opponents' line score a point. Simple, brutal, wild and emotionally charged. This doco, filmed over several years, traces the bitter competition between Team US and Canada; but it's much more than a sport film. For a start, the competition, already tense after years of supremacy over Canada by the US team, is suddenly made personal when the US coach, a ferociously motivated multi-trophy winning athelete, Joe Soares is fired (too old and too slow, they reckoned) and he offers his services to Canada. Whooosh! Traitor!

Joe takes his task seriously; so much so he has a side lines heart attack at one stage. But the filmmakers take us deep down into the depths of the human condition as we meet some of the players, like the gritty Mark Zupan, and learn in matter of fact tones what made them quads, and meet some of their families. We get frank instructions on the niceties of sexual life of quadraplegics (yes, there most certainly is one) and we get to know what drives some of these men - and it's nothing stranger than simple humanity. Like pride, ego, survival and love.

This disarmingly honest and multilayered film is certain to further excite the audience palate for feature documentaries that provide insights into the everyday that isn't ordinary.

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(US, 2004)

CAST: Documentary featuring US and Canadian Paralympic Quad Rugby team players and coaches

PRODUCER: Jeffrey W. Mandel, Dana Adam Shapiro

DIRECTOR: Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro


EDITOR: Conor O'Neill, Geoffrey Richman

MUSIC: Jamie Saft

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 20, 2005

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: 21st Century Pictures Video

VIDEO RELEASE: January 4, 2006

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