Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

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  • Summary: When ex-biker-gang member Sam Childers makes the life-changing decision to go to East Africa to help repair homes destroyed by civil war, he is outraged by the unspeakable horrors faced by the region’s vulnerable populace, especially the children. Ignoring the warnings of more experienced aide workers, Sam breaks ground for an orphanage where it’s most needed—in the middle of territory controlled by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a renegade militia that forces youngsters to become soldiers before they even reach their teens. (Relativity Media)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 32
  2. Negative: 7 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Sep 17, 2011
    The exploitation title may not do it any favors, but this biopic based on the incredible life journey of Sam Childers is gripping, inspirational and well told.
  2. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Sep 30, 2011
    The action sequences are energetic and suspenseful but they don't always mesh well with the dramatic material.
  3. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Sep 20, 2011
    Machine Gun Preacher is the umpteenth onscreen iteration of a white savior aiding the most desperate in Africa.
  4. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 22, 2011
    In movie terms, Mr. Childers's story is too true to be good. Machine Gun Preacher, directed by Marc Forster and starring Gerard Butler, illustrates some of the ways that a terrific story can turn into a bad film despite the best intentions of everyone involved.
  5. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Oct 12, 2011
    The movie never convinces us that Forster is convinced himself. The director lines up this bad good man in his sights, but he never quite has the nerve quite to pull the trigger.
  6. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Sep 17, 2011
    While the result is yet another story of African suffering told from a white do-gooder's perspective, this particular do-gooder is intrinsically fascinating enough to warrant attention, albeit more nuanced attention than he receives here.
  7. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Sep 21, 2011
    The title, Machine Gun Preacher, makes it sound like a piece of grindhouse kitsch - and by the time it's over, you'll be thinking, ''If only!''

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 3 out of 12
  1. Apr 9, 2013
    I don't see how this movie is rated so low, this movie was amazing yet sad and touching at the same time. Gerald Butler was a great actor chosen for this movie. This movie is actually a true story, they are still alive to this day. It's so hard to see good true movies now-a-days. Expand
  2. Aug 5, 2014
    This story held me glued to the screen from the very beginning. I was touched deeply by Sam Childers' heroic efforts. At least he is trying to make a difference. It only takes a spark to get a fire burning. Bravo for Sam, who stands up for what he believes is right. This movie definitely inspired me to think about what is really important. Saving children and helping the needy should be our primary focus, but unfortunately in our society, its all about taking care of numeral Uno. I loved this movie, and I'm proud of the fact that it is based on actual events. We need more inspiring characters and movies like this. Expand
  3. Oct 8, 2011
    I am not sure why this movie is rated so low. Absolutely incredible. very moving and varying degrees of emotion. I would call this a must see! Dont be fooled by the low ratings Expand
  4. Oct 3, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is an amazing real life story. I found it inspirational how the main character "Sam Childers" changed his life from from a drug addict thug to putting his life on the line to help the orphan kids in Southern Sudan. I like his realism after his conversion. I believe the way he channeled his fearlessness from something dark into something great challenges the audience to greater potential as well. Expand
  5. Oct 13, 2011
    In his best performance yet, Gerard Butler plays a troubled, complex guy who leaves his life of crime for God and becomes a real life hero in Sudan. Machine Gun Preacher is violent and, at times, hard to watch, but the story is inspirational and puts the spotlight on an ordinary man doing extraordinary things. But he is far from subtle and chooses to use a gun to get them done. The film can certainly be upsetting, especially when you see how kids in Sudan are treated and what happens if they disobey. But no matter how gruesome some parts may be, Machine Gun Preacher only shows the audience the brutal truth and the cause that Sam Childers is fighting for.

    Based on a true story and directed by Marc Forster (Monsterâ
  6. Jul 10, 2013
    Machine Gun Preacher was a fantastic movie with a plot that almost felt like a modern day version of Schindler's List. Now don't get me wrong. In no way am I saying that this film was anywhere near that level. I'm just saying that some of the emotions were similar due to the similarly tragic nature of the true stories they tell. Gerard Butler leads a cast that provide great acting throughout the film and deliver on those emotions. The plot develops well and the reality of the story adds an additional layer of depth. The action sequences were a little weak and unfortunately the movie leans a little too heavily on those scenes. The constant varying perspectives makes you think and the drama is effective. I think the ending felt a bit rushed and the film lacked that climactic emotional sequence that sticks with you but overall, I think most people would really enjoy this movie. Expand
  7. Nov 18, 2014
    Wow. This movie is quite simply unbearable to watch. While the story itself may harbor some interesting and compelling material, the script is so horribly mundane, cliche, and unbelievable that the film comes off as unintentionally comic material. Gerard Butler does the best with what he is given; however, his character's arc goes from awful scoundrel to world saver literally overnight. Furthermore, not only is the entire film's premise a stretch of your imagination, the ending is extremely unrewarding and empty. Please, save yourself some brain cells and some time, and choose something else to watch. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews