Machine Gun Preacher 2011

Machine Gun Preacher

Critics Consensus

There's a complex man at the center of Machine Gun Preacher but the movie is too shapeless and emotionally vacant to bring his story to life.

27%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 114

62%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 18,375

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Movie Info

Sam Childers (Gerard Butler), a former biker, decides to go to East Africa to help repair homes destroyed by civil war. Transformed by the horrors he sees, Sam ignores the warnings of more experienced aide workers and breaks ground for an orphanage in the heart of territory controlled by a brutal renegade militia. But establishing a shelter is not enough; determined to save as many lives as possible, Sam leads armed missions into enemy territory to rescue kidnapped children.

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Critic Reviews for Machine Gun Preacher

All Critics (114) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (83)

  • It is an overblown, histrionic, cluttered and a nowhere near well enough developed mess, the erstwhile humanitarian a one-note caricature I knew little more about at the end than I did at the beginning.

    January 27, 2012 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    November 4, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
    Empire Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Gerard Butler is involving, even charismatic, always plausible as a man of contained and then uncontained violence...

    November 4, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Despite the most worthy intentions, Childers cannot single-handedly save Sudan and Butler cannot save this movie.

    November 3, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • While the film might be biographically accurate, it isn't artistically satisfying: real people are inexplicable in a way that characters in films shouldn't be, and consequently, he feels half-finished.

    November 2, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Overly preachy and overly long. A missed opportunity.

    November 2, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Machine Gun Preacher

  • Jul 11, 2013
    Upon his release from prison, Sam Childers(Gerard Butler) wastes no time in getting intimately reacquainted with his wife Lynn(Michelle Monaghan). That does not mean he is not incensed when she informs him that she quit her lucrative stripping job due to a lack of day care and her finding religion, although probably not in that order. His time of reckoning occurs soon enough when he almost kills a man one night in the company of his friend Donnie(Michael Shannon). Having found religion, the rest of Sam's life soon follows, as he finds steady work and then runs a successful construction business. So, he decides to go to Uganda to build schools where he meets Deng(Souleymane Sy Savane), a resistance fighter from Sudan. To its credit, "Machine Gun Preacher" does have a certain cornball charm, mostly due to Gerard Butler in the lead and the fact that Michelle Monaghan can do little wrong. While this is clearly meant to be an inspiring tale of redemption and thus should be given its due respect, coupling Sam's personal journey with a tornado and genocide is perhaps a bit too much. The movie also never gets that deep in exploring Sam's contradictions nor maybe that he is not completely a new man since he has not renounced violence and the possibility that he has just exchanged one drug for another.(Remember what Marx said about religion.) The movie does have some good thoughts on American affluence compared to the rest of the world and bringing more attention to the genocide in Darfur is always worthy(the movie does everything short of putting a 800 number on the screen). But it should also be remembered that one man cannot do everything or be everywhere, no matter how much Sam might think otherwise.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 06, 2013
    Somewhat in the veins of Blood Diamond, this one fared well enough for me, though not as good as Blood Diamond. The cast gave excellent performance, and the execution was good enough to restrain it from becoming too preachy. Being too loud, I didn't like the Hallelujah parts.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Jan 26, 2013
    Real life stories make for some very good films. Now I've had reservations about seeing Machine Gun Preacher due to the fact that Gerard Butler has made a few duds over the last few years, and his last good films were Gamer and Law Abiding Citizen. For Machine Gun Preacher, Butler goes back to a more serious role as Sam Childers. The film focuses on Childers life and how he went from a criminal to someone trying to find salvation by helping others in need. Childers went to Sudan to help children that were orphaned due to civil war. Although not a flawless film, Machine Gun Preacher is a worthwhile film that is in my opinion quite underrated. Gerard Butler delivers a strong and powerful performance that is quite possibly the best of his career. The film is a mix of action and drama, and director Marc Forster does a good job with the material to capture Childers's life, but considering that he had such a unique life, the film could have been a bit better as well. In terms of a good biopic, this tells a compelling story and it is well acted. Butler redeems himself with this role due to the fact that he played in a few boring and unimpressive chick flicks. I very much enjoyed the film, but there were a few areas where the film could have been better. However there are enough good elements to make this one worth seeing. The film is very good, and is quite eye opening as well. As a whole, it is a flawed film but it is a well executed action drama that delivers something memorable.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Aug 08, 2012
    A decent film based on the life of Sam Childers. A good performance from Butler playing Sam who seems to hit rock bottom, rises up when he finds God and has plenty more ups and downs at home and in Africa as he tries to help the children of Sudan.
    Dean K Super Reviewer

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