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

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 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)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 32
  2. Negative: 7 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Sep 17, 2011
    80
    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
    63
    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
    50
    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
    50
    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
    50
    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
    40
    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
    25
    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 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 2 out of 11
  1. Oct 8, 2011
    10
    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
  2. Apr 9, 2013
    10
    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
  3. Aug 5, 2014
    10
    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
  4. Oct 3, 2011
    9
    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. Jul 31, 2012
    9
    The movie is amazing, on the whole. The beginning is a bit hard to bear, as it's *extremely* vulgar and painful. Although, it is an good representation of what Sam Childers' life used to be like. The accuracy of what is going on over in Africa is heart wrenching and makes you want to go over to help them yourself. And watching the development of Sam is interesting and will have you feeling for him. Expand
  6. Oct 13, 2011
    8
    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
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  7. Dec 8, 2013
    1
    There is in fact an incredible story to be told of Childers' life and of his mission to help children in Sudan. Unfortunately, Machine Gun Preacher is not an incredible film but rather one lacking the emotional pull needed to adequately reflect the work Childers has done on behalf of so many who are completely unable to help themselves. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews