Lose an arm or your legs, or the use of your spine, and it's awful. But for many quadriplegics, there's still lots left: heart, guts and competitive instinct. The boldest among them engage in a fearsome sport called quad rugby--or murderball. Strapped into supercharged Mad Max wheelchairs, two teams of four players bang metal and fight like hell. The goal, says one: "Kill the man with the ball."
Murderball is no Rocky-esque hymn to the human spirit. It's more like a prison movie; the guys on the quad rugby Team USA have the grizzled machismo of lifers. Or sports studs. Mark Zupan, right, goateed and tattooed, is as focused as any pro lineman. And Joe Soares, who runs the Canadian team, has the martinet tone of an NFL coach. Soares went north after the U.S. dropped him from the squad. There's bad blood, and it will be spilled.
The film follows both teams to the 2004 Paralympics, where, a player says, "We're not going for a hug. We're going for a f______ gold medal." But in defeat, a father's hug is some solace. "You're the best son anybody could ever have," sobs one dad. "You make me so proud." So there is crying in quad rugby. For parents, and viewers too. --R.C.