Iffy for 15+
Gruesome redemption tale made tedious by oversimplification.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fact-based drama set mostly in war-torn Sudan includes several combat sequences and some especially gruesome images featuring torture victims. The main character (played by Gerard Butler) transforms from a biker-gang thug into a religious man over the course of the movie. He also swears constantly ("f--k," "c--ksucker," etc.), drinks heavily, and, in the beginning, shoots heroin. It's an inspiring story, though not a pretty one.
- Families can talk about Sam's story. What do you think about his transformation over the course of the story? Does the movie make more of an impact because it's based on a real person's life?
- What is the movie's message about violence? How does Sam's decision to join in the warfare affect this message? What, if anything, did you learn about the political situation of Sudan in the real world?
The good stuff
Messages: The movie promotes the idea that people can change for the better and that there's a greater purpose in life. It also says that helping others can be a path toward paying for the mistakes of the past. On the other hand, the idea that fighting violence with violence is a good idea also comes across.
Role models: Sam is transformed from a drug-addicted thug to a devoted family man to a missionary who will do anything to help protect innocent children who've been orphaned by civil war in Sudan. However, many of his choices are questionable, including his decision to become an active participant in combat.
What to watch for
Violence: The film has quite a lot of violence, and some of it is horribly gruesome. There are plenty of standard-issue combat sequences that include firefights, explosions, and bloody deaths. Additional scenes show wartime atrocities being committed and their terrible aftermath. This includes piles of mangled, smoldering corpses, a woman whose lips have been cut off, a child killed by a land mine, and a young boy who's forced to club his own mother to death. One character also menaces his wife; he doesn't hit her, but his actions are violent and intimidating.
Sex: One scene features a couple having sex in a car, seen from the outside, and another shows them kissing passionately. There's no nudity, though a woman appears in her underwear.
Language: Lots of swearing. Sam uses "f--k" in about every third sentence. Also uses of "s--t," "c--ksucker," "p---y," "damn," "hell," "ass," and "butt." Sam sometimes swears in front of his young daughter.
Consumerism: Sam has an extensive collection of Harley Davidson T-shirts that he wears throughout the film. Several car brands also get mentioned or are shown on screen, including Caprice and Buick. Sam offers a friend a Coke.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several scenes in bars with people drinking beer, doing shots, and getting drunk. Some of the characters shoot up heroin on screen.
Fan Reviews provided by
Heart wrearching by stefyb
I thought this was a great movie. The acting was sublime and funny enough it wasn't a preachy movie. It just made you mad, sad and angry. A great vehicle for Gerard Butler.
Gripping and Human by Character_Count
This movie did an excellent job of showing the human element of the story without belaboring pointless details. It brilliantly let us figure out the trivial moments of life while showing us the parts with real emotional impact and immediate plot relevance. I wish even half of the movies in Hollywood had pacing this good.
Well worth the price of a ticket by jennyfaire
I watched Machine Gun Preacher and was both disturbed and thrilled. The disturbing part was how incredibly sad and scary the lives of the children are in that part of Sudan. And that this movie is based on real life, and that the events are happening right now, is truly scary. It makes me appreciatemore all that I have. The thrilling part was watching how well everything was put together in the movie. The acting was terrific and there were no weak characters. It was balanced nicely between the violence and emotional parts. The movie pulled you in and kept you there throughout. Well done! Especially for a Hollywood movie. I hope it does well in its limited release, so that it can be released to a wider audience.
Good movie but not one I'd ncessarily seek out by browningsm
Good action in this movie, a little slow, basic story line is interesting and curious - drug dealing rough n tough bully turned good spirited stand up guy saving children in the sudan; good story but not something Id say is Must see in the theater.Gerard Butler hottie will admit..
Heartbreaking and Thought-provoking by bethy1017
Machine Gun Preacher is not for the faint of heart. It's based on a true story about a man who gives up a life of drugs and crime after becoming a Born-again Christian. He goes over to Sudan to help build a church, and discovers the horrific war being waged upon the women and children. He knows he has to do something, so he undertakes the tremendously difficult project of building an orphanage.
I want to say that everyone should see this movie, because although I knew that there was and is a war going on in Sudan, I didn't really know the extent of it... and this movie was really an eye-opener.
Gerard Butler is fantastic as the turbulent Sam Childers, and he really pulls off every aspect of this character, from the violent, addicted, ne'er-do-well, to the heartbroken man who has witnessed unspeakable horror, to the vengeance-seeking soldier who picks up a rocket launcher and throws himself into a war that's not his own.
Go see it, but be prepared for the violence.
Machine Gun Preacher by jovichick
This is the true of Sam Chillders. He was a drug addiict who found God. He later goes to Africa to save children. It hit a little bit home since my family is from Poland & my parents were small children when WWII was happening. You can't fathom what goes on in the minds of people to be so evil. I had seen the real Sam Childers at a church in Munster, IN. His message was, it's not just the children in Africa who are kidnapped, killed, etc., but, all over the world. We should be helping children everywhere.
MGP is strong, like America by Dirty Ding Dong
Gerard Butler takes it to an entirely different level of acting in this film. For those who already like Butler, his performance in this will absolutely blow you away. This movie is 100% full on. They suck all of your emotions in by hiding nothing. All of the macabre violence and torture that goes on in the Sudan is accurately displayed in this movie, and Butler delivers Oscar worthy responses to the violence and death, in each scene. Go see this now. DO IT!
Machine Gun Preacher review by Koldman
A touching true story with phenomenal acting by the entire cast. Gerard Butler is my favorite actor, and he's delivered another fantastic performance. It will also make you think, how can I help?
Absolutely awesome!!! by pizzafilms
This film has something for everyone...seriously! Great action, great story...very inspiring! GO NOW!!!
This is a Must See! by quincy4real
This movie is very inspiring and should be seen by everyone out there. It will ignite a Passion for God and Compassion for people, which causes Faith to effectively make a difference in the world!