Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
The Perfect Night In
Great Movies From Warner Bros.
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Michelle Monaghan
Gerard Butler
Michael Shannon.
Directors
Marc Forster.
Screenwriters
Jason Keller.
Running Time
127 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Miss Julie
2 Star Empire Rating
Second Mother, The
4 Star Empire Rating
No Escape
2 Star Empire Rating
Ricki And The Flash
2 Star Empire Rating
Dope
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

Machine Gun Preacher
Next: Pope With An Uzi


submit to reddit


Plot
The true story of Sam Childers (Butler), who turned his back on a violent past as a drug-dealing biker and found his true calling as a machine gun-wielding liberator of refugee children in Africa.


Review
Machine Gun Preacher
Browse more images »
German-born, Swiss-raised director Marc Forster has enjoyed mixed fortunes since his stunning breakthrough, Monster’s Ball, his output ranging from an ignominious flop (Stay) to a largely unloved Bond film (Quantum Of Solace), via the moderately successful meta-malarkey of Stranger Than Fiction, in which a made-up character discovers the horrifying truth about himself. Forster was on winning form with Finding Neverland, a story about a writer of fiction which played fast and loose with the facts of its subject’s life. Machine Gun Preacher, while also based on a true story, is an altogether more prosaic affair, even though there’s nothing ordinary about the life it dramatises.

Fresh out of jail for something he most likely did do, Sam Childers becomes violently angry when he discovers that his wife (Michelle Monaghan) has traded lap-dancing for Bible-thumping. With no intention of following the same path, Sam meets up with his junkie friend Donnie (Michael Shannon) to plan their next drug-addled robbery — with deadly consequences. This puts Sam on a spiritual journey of his own, ultimately leading to war-torn Sudan, where he befriends a local militia fighting the terrifying LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), whose murderous ways make the infamous Khmer Rouge look about as dangerous as Glee’s warblers. Employing the same deadly skills he once used as a violent criminal, Sam becomes a self-styled Rambo figure, on a mission from God, convinced that the end (saving lives) justifies the means (taking lives). Not so much Mother Theresa as Bad Muthafucka.

Gerard Butler may be the only man who could truly do justice to a larger-than-life figure like Sam Childers — of course, we get the now obligatory (or cliché, depending on your perspective) footage of the real-life Childers over the end credits. To his credit, Gerard Butler throws everything he’s got into the role, and is never less than convincing. A more accomplished actor, however, might have helped the film transcend the limitations of the episodic and rather pedestrian screenplay. Instead, it’s up to Forster to deliver the goods, and he does so only sporadically. It’s a fascinating, worthwhile and competently told story, but it could so easily have been much more.


Verdict
It’s gratifying to see Butler giving a proper acting role the old college try. Despite his best efforts, Forster’s film, while pulling no punches, still somehow manages to miss the mark.


Reviewed by David Hughes

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Machine Gun Preacher
Empire Star Rating

RE:

Saw it this week and was pleasantly surprised. From the ridiculous title I was expecting some sort of no-brains actioner (the trailer didn't help either) and instead found something much better. Having said that, I think there's a good chance that the aforementioned marketing may help to confuse quite a few people's expectations and no doubt lead to a few disappointed cinemagoers. As for the film itself, I thought Butler was solid in the role, doing a good job at being... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by brucejackiejet at 11:00, 09 November 2011 | Report This Post


It's one of the great mysteries of the last few years as to just how Butler has managed to blag himself an A-List (ish) career on pretty much the minimal of talent.... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by artilleryman at 19:41, 08 November 2011 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Wes Craven: Film By Film
Empire celebrates the late, great horror director

My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Spectre – Everything You Need To Know
Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)