Machine Gun Preacher Reviews

Top Critic
David Jenkins
Time Out
November 1, 2011
The need to cram in facts and events makes 'Machine Gun Preacher' feel too much like one large and needlessly glossy montage sequence.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 7, 2011
In telling a true story, ambiguity can be an asset; but instead of mapping a middle course, director Marc Foster veers between two kinds of falsehoods.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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William Goss
Film.com
October 6, 2011
The clichés fly like so many spent bullet casings...
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Tom Long
Detroit News
September 30, 2011
What looks on the surface to be yet another inspiring story of one man's salvation turns out to be instead both an examination of modern atrocity and a rethinking of the burden/beauty of belief.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
September 30, 2011
Why is it that uplifting movies based on true stories often feel so untrue and fall so flat?
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
September 30, 2011
What a surprise. Its grindhouse title notwithstanding, "Machine Gun Preacher" is a genuine drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
September 30, 2011
The Lord may work in mysterious ways, but "Machine Gun Preacher" is downright confounding.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
September 29, 2011
Somewhere in the middle of this 127-minute film, the energy drops out, and Forster never quite gets it back.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
September 29, 2011
Sam's duality ought to make for some interesting storytelling and a fascinating, conflicted character. But Forster and Butler overplay that conflict, turning "Preacher" into a portrait of goodwill gone amok.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 29, 2011
"Machine Gun Preacher'' is crude and ham-handed from its ridiculous title on down, but it still gets to some interesting places.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 29, 2011
Childers' deeds are presented simply as heroic. By the end of Machine Gun Preacher, its title character has become a cartoon.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
September 29, 2011
If nothing else, Machine Gun Preacher drives home the inhumanity of the situation far better than any two-minute evening news segment can.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
September 29, 2011
There's more machine gunning than preaching, but what did you expect?
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
September 29, 2011
Butler acts the role within an inch of its life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
September 29, 2011
"Machine Gun Preacher" gives blood-soaked missionary work a bad name.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 29, 2011
"Machine Gun Preacher" is a combination of uplift and gritty violence, and the parts don't fit.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
September 23, 2011
It's probably Gerard Butler's best and most complete performance to date in one of the more inspirational stories of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
September 23, 2011
Even the Sudanese orphans, whose plight is, after all, the film's reason for being, are presented as a grievous backdrop to Childers's calisthenics. They are poster-art children, framed to elicit our maximum sympathy.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
September 23, 2011
The filmmakers may have started with a real story here. But all they've come up with is a real chore.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
September 23, 2011
Far too high-and-mighty to truly be moving.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
September 23, 2011
An utterly bungled opportunity to show how a soul gets rebuilt through Christian faith.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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USA Today
September 22, 2011
Perhaps if the role had been played by an actor capable of conveying greater complexity, it could have been moving. But the way Butler plays it, this is a shoot'em-up blood bath rather than an inspiring movie.
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
September 22, 2011
Having such a complicated man as a central character is a blessing and a curse for the filmmakers, and the movie struggles because of this.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
September 22, 2011
The story, written by Jason Keller, lurches and wanders, and the filmmakers seem flummoxed by its ethical and political complexities, unable to reconcile the two poles of their hero's personality.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
September 22, 2011
Charts the hero's spiritual journey, and his Rambo-esque exploits, without offering a scintilla of mature perspective on his state of mind.
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Tasha Robinson
AV Club
September 22, 2011
It expresses something neither religious-uplift movies nor Great White Hope stories tend to acknowledge: the consuming frustration and loneliness that can come alongside a moral call to action.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
September 21, 2011
It's like Machete remade as an awards-bait snoozer.
Full Review | Original Score: D
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
September 21, 2011
The real-life Sam Childers, who's still working in Sudan, is probably more complicated than this.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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James Rocchi
MSN Movies
September 21, 2011
...ultimately so scattershot when it fires all its rounds that it's hard to tell what, exactly, the film makers were aiming for when they pulled the trigger.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
David Fear
Time Out
September 21, 2011
Childers's varied, charitable life story warrants a movie, but whether that means it's okay to simply mash up sappy Christian piety and action-movie chaos is highly debatable.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Melissa Anderson
Village Voice
September 20, 2011
Machine Gun Preacher is the umpteenth onscreen iteration of a white savior aiding the most desperate in Africa.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
September 12, 2011
Machine Gun Preachernicely balances the action and drama, uses its locations well and has the good grace to celebrate a relatively unknown do-gooder, whatever his motivations may be.
Top Critic
Dave McGinn
Globe and Mail
September 8, 2011
[Marc Forster]is constrained by reality, and so is left with a story that lacks much of a satisfying climax or anything like a proper ending.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4