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UK: Optimum Releasing
Cast: Mark Zupan, Joe Soares, Keith Cavill, Andy Cohn, Scott Hogsett, Bob Lujano
Directors: Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro
USA & UK: 86 mins
USA Rated: R for language and sexual content
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and sex references
USA Release Date: 29 July 2005 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 22 July 2005 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 8 July 2005 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 4 November 2005 (Limited Release)
Winner of the Documentary Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize for Editing at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, MURDERBALL is a film about tough and highly competitive rugby players - quadriplegic rugby players. Featuring fierce rivalry, stopwatch suspense and larger-than-life personalities, MURDERBALL tells the story of a group of world class athletes in their own version of the full-contact sport as they smash into each other in their custom made gladiator-like wheelchairs. It's also a film about family, revenge, honor, sex and the triumph of love over loss.
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.
Quad rugby is played on a basketball court with four eight-minute quarters, during which players wheel nimbly, collide brutally, pass strategically, and sometimes knock each other over, chairs and all, to get the ball past the melee and into the end zone. More mobile players handle the ball, while more impaired ones can excel at defensive blocking. Each player is assigned a ranking, from .5 to 3.5, according to his upper-body mobility; team mobility rankings cannot exceed a total of 8.
2002 World Championship
MURDERBALL begins at the 2002 World Championship in Sweden. Top-ranked Team USA has dominated the sport for 10 years, and every national team would like to push them from their pedestal. The rivalry between USA and Canada, though, is especially personal. Canada's coach is Joe Soares, a former American all-star. When Joe (who is in his forties and is much older than most of the players) was cut from the 2000 USA team, he went north to coach, many say to exact revenge on his former teammates. "How does it feel to betray your country?" one USA player taunts him. When Canada wins by a point in the final seconds, the USA team is humbled and despondent.