Today: February 29, 2024

Machine Gun Preacher DVD

The title might sound like a grind house comic book adaptation but this Machine Gun Preacher is actually based on the true story of Sam Childers.

The title might sound like a grind house comic book
adaptation but this Machine Gun Preacher is actually based on the true story of Sam Childers.

Within the first
fifteen minutes of Machine Gun Preacher Sam Childers has been released from
prison, taken heroine, robbed some dealers of their drugs and finally murdered
a hitchhiker. In other words this
film is going to be gritty and hard-hitting but probably not in the way you
expect from those opening moments.

Indeed bad-boy
biker Sam Childers (Gerard Butler)
soon realises the error of his ways and asks his wife Lynn (Michelle Monaghan) to help him find
God. With a new found vigor for
life, thanks to Him on high, Sam looks to provide for his family by setting up
his own construction company. But
when a pastor talks at Sam’s local church about the horrors taking place in
Uganda and Sudan Sam sees he has a greater calling and sets out to build an
orphanage to help the children who are being taken and used as child soldiers
and prostitutes.

Director Marc
Forster, last seen delivering the under-whelming James Bond Quantum Of Solace (2008), is no
stranger to a bit of hard-hitting topical dramas what with Monster’s Ball (2001) and The
Kite Runner
(2007) under his belt.
Machine Gun Preacher is perhaps not as bleak as he would have been
aiming for, but it tells an interesting story with enough gusto to keep you
just about entertained throughout.

If there is a
criticism to be leveled at the film, it’s that it feels overly long and
slightly repetitive. Sam goes to
Sudan, shoots a few rebel fighters, rescues some kids, returns home angry at
how no one else seems to care about the travesties happening half the world
away, looses his temper and then heads back to the orphanage again. Rinse and repeat, you get the

The inevitable
moment comes when he falls out with his oldest friend Donnie, played by an
under-used Michael Shannon, and his family
feels that he cares more about his African ‘children’ than he does about
them. Formulaic it might be but
there is a genuine heart and warmth at the center of the film. In particular Sam’s relationship with
his friend Deng (Souleymane Sy Savane)
who helps get the freedom fighters on his side and a young orphan who takes a
shine to The Machine Gun Preacher.
It is the chemistry with these two characters that lift the film out of
the duller moments.

Butler is the
only character given any real time to develop, that he also acts as a producer
on the film might go some way to explaining this, and although not always the
most charismatic of leads he gets the job done going through every emotion
under sun without ever really making you warm to Childers too much.

It will inform
you and as a result give you all manner of guilt, especially if you watch it on
your nice big flat-screen TV in your living room with every mod-con you could
possibly need, but Machine Gun Preacher might have benefited from a bit of
creativity akin to its comic book sounding title. Nonetheless it ticks all the right boxes without ever daring
to be anything more than the sum of its parts.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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