October 13, 2011

Movie Review: Machine Gun Preacher

This is a movie that I cannot say I was terribly interested in seeing. Somehow I did find myself in the theater waiting to give it a shot. Since this did happen, I was determined to make the best of it. It did seem to be based on an inspiring true life story, features a decent cast, and sports a director of some talent. The problem was that I was not sure quite how interested actually was in seeing it. Oh well, too late now, best to just sit back and enjoy the show.

Now, I hate to say it, but I am just not terribly interested in writing about Machine Gun Preacher. I know, I know, not exactly the write thing for a writing hobbyist to say, but its true. This movie is just not very good. While I understand it is based, at least partially, on a true story and I certainly respect that and what the real subject is looking to do, but... wow... this is not a good movie.

Machine Gun Preacher moves forward steadfastly in a straight line, giving the Cliff's Notes versions of events. Despite a runtime north of two hours, I never got the feeling that we got to know any of the characters aside from a cursory surface scan. It is a demonstration of events that hints at moral issues, quandaries and the cold reality of what is happening, or what is going on inside his head, rather than any type of in depth examination of what is going on.

It strikes me that Marc Forster's film is targeted at a Rambo crowd looking for a more in your face sort of message. It still has the strong-armed machismo and machine guns of an action movie, tempered with the image of Africa's white savior protecting orphans in the visage of Gerard Butler.

Butler plays Sam Childers. As we are introduced to him as he is getting out of prison, having finished up some stint for drug-based offenses. He gets out and finds his wife, Lynn (Michelle Monaghan), has stopped stripping and found God. Sam is still a rather violent lout who may or may not be physically abusive, he also still has a taste for heroin (which he gets from a buddy played by Michael Shannon). Well, before long, Sam goes to church and is inspired by the preacher to go to Africa.

Sam takes off across the ocean to see if he can lend a hand. Seeing how bad things are, he sets up an orphanage that he will defend at all costs, taking up arms as necessary, in between stints fundraising at the church he built back home in Pennsylvania.

I don't know, it just didn't connect. It went from point to point to point and then it just stopped. It never really concluded, and while the real Sam Childers is still doing his work, the movie could have used something more along the lines of an ending. I never felt connected, even when they were looking to pull at the heart strings, I was mostly unaffected.

I think this is a good story, but so far as a movie goes it is not good. It is half baked and could have used a little more prep time. I know this is short, but frankly, the movie is a non-entity that even as I type this is slipping out of my mind.

Not Recommended.

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Anonymous said...

Guess what, your review wasn't very good either.

draven99 said...

Matches the movie. Look around, you'll find a lot of not very good around here.

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