Murderball This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Or is it just wheelchair rugby? Imagine pumping thresholds of power, passionate explosions of action, and fiery endeavors to score. With the clashing of metal, spinning of wheels, and intense hours of obscenities, the documentary “Murderball” follows two and a half years in the lives of paraplegic athletes.

The documentary renders a powerful portrayal of the aggressive and arrogant traits of the individual it follows, particularly Mark Zupan and Joe Soares, rivals who fight fire with fire. The unimaginable tasks achieved by the tough personalities on the team are both captivating and entertaining to watch.

The growing conflicts in the film make it entertaining, portraying the athletes as characters we love to hate as we laugh at their cheeky and arrogant outlook on life. Although inspirational at the start, eventually the athletes are shown to be flawed like the rest of society, with pride blinding them as they build walls of denial around their superficial egos. While this may irritate some, it is compelling and comical to watch.

The film is fast, funny, fiery, and furious. It has flawless editing, a killer soundtrack that includes Ministry, Ween, and The Polyphonic Spree, and camera use that puts the action right in your face, emphasizing the injuries and accidents. The documentary uses a typical master/apprentice narrative
that holds your interest, yet completely ditches all handicapped stereotypes; it does not sympathize with the athletes simply because they are handicapped. However, this is how the men want it; at the Paralympic Games, their motto is, “We're not here for a hug, we're here for a gold medal.”

The film focuses on people, not facts, which is what makes it so successful. We see something real about the characters. The unbeatable action scenes and rivalries put an entertaining spin in the usual boring documentary format, making “Murderball” thrilling to watch.

This film is rated R.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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