Ilze Kitshoff
Owen Gleiberman
September 30, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Machine Gun Preacher

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
123 minutes
Wide Release Date
11/18/11
performer
Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan
director
Marc Forster
distributor
Relativity Media

We gave it a D

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!” Gerard Butler, who wears the same blank-wall expression whenever he’s not throwing a fit of teeth-gnashing rage, plays the real-life Sam Childers, a druggie hooligan who found Jesus and went to the war-torn hell of Sudan to help save the lives of abused, maimed, often conscripted children. Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) directs with a gruelingly earnest, plodding sincerity, except that the film never gets beyond pulp psychology. It’s like Machete remade as an awards-bait snoozer. D

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