Well-meaning mediocrity

Well-meaning mediocrity

November 04, 2012
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Machine Gun Preacher Film_L
Photo: MGP Productions, LLC
With a name like Machine Gun Preacher, you half expect the hero to walk around with a flaming skull. No, it's not a Marvel Comics movie: this is based on the real-life Sam Childers and his path from ex-con gangster to philanthropist-vigilante. And yes, folks, he likes his guns a lot.

Gerard Butler is perfectly cast as the rough and tumble Childers. Thanks to his wife, Lynn (Michelle Monaghan), Childers sheds his old ways and devotes himself to God. He volunteers for a missionary trip to Uganda to help build homes for refugees, then goes on to the war-ravaged Sudan where he witnesses some of the most atrocious crimes against children ever committed.

It's here Childers finds his true calling: to help the kids by building an orphanage. But he soon realises that's not enough to stop Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) from inflicting its reign of terror. So Childers, Sudan People's Liberation Army soldier Deng (Souleymane Sy Savane) and a small platoon take the fight - with guns - to the LRA. Childers is a saint with flaws and a shady past. His actions fall under the do-good-don't-ask-questions camp, and his portrayal of "another white saviour in Africa" is a little tiring.

Not without its flaws, the film is mediocre and not worth the standing ovation it received at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Contains violence and mature scenes

YP Rating: 3/5



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