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MURDERBALL

Part ESPN highlight reel, part MTV flash, Henry Alex Rubin & Dana Adam Shapiroís documentary about wheelchair rugby moves in unexpected ways. The film begins with the US and Team Canada squaring off for the 2002 world championship and concludes with a rematch at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. The agitating element: perennial MVP Joe Soares, cut from the US squad, coaches the Canadians. Early on Soares gets into a four-letter pissing contest with Mark Zupan, one of the young guns who unseated him. Acrimony aside, the two exude the same machismo; Soares is the embodiment of Robert Duvallís hard-ass in Apocalypse Now and Zupan proclaims himself a "serious" athlete, "not like the Special Olympics where you get a pat on the back." Off court thereís the cheesy "how to" sex video for quads, Soares advising his effeminate son, and Zupan confronting the driver that crippled him. Itís a compelling tour de force with a torrent of emotion pounding underneath.

BY TOM MEEK

Issue Date: July 22 - 28, 2005
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