0 3 mins 12 yrs

Before you watch this film there is something you should know that could influence how you view it… Machine Gun Preacher, starring Gerard Butler, is based on the real-life reformed drug addict Sam Childers.

The name ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ is now how he is more famously known, due to his (possibly hypocritical) devotion to the Christian faith and his willingness to wield a machine gun against anyone who threatens the lives of the people he has spent years dedicating his life to protect.

The film crashes into Childers life when he’s just leaving prison. His wife, in his absence, has ditched her strip joint career and has found faith in Jesus Christ. Childers isn’t really feeling up to the same reformation just yet, so he decides he’ll shoot up on some heroine and hurt a few people.

Fortunately, he regrets his reckless ways and gets baptised, jumping back onto the straight and narrow; hallelujah! He decides to build a new church for his community, and then, upon a visit to the Sudan, realises he will build an entire refuge shelter for any victims of the repugnant African militant group, the LRA.

Now, had you not known Machine Gun Preacher was based on a real-life person, you may have started watching it expecting something completely different. Despite appearing like a mean-ass, not-much-more-to-it-than-masculine-shizz-and-gun-fighting, type of film, this movie actually has a heart. Admittedly I felt like I was watching a completely different film at the start, one which was trashy and cheap, with an odd kind of direction. But luckily Gerard’s string of rough under the collar good-guy roles threw away the shackles of the AWOL heroine addict pretty quickly and conformed to the Butler persona we are used to.

Having said that, this film is about the massacre, torture, and enslavement of victims at the hands of the LRA. So if you find that, and gun-fighting, upsetting I wouldn’t recommend watching this film.  But neither is it some glorified Call of Duty type film which is all about shooting your opponent for fun. It actually has a strong storyline and manages to hold the saving of people’s lives at its core, rather than the killing of them.

Overall, an educating film that has made me want to find out more about the real Machine Gun Preacher. However, if it were not based on a real-life person, the film would have been less affecting, and would, ironically, be a little bit unbelievable.

Machine Gun Preacher is out to buy on DVD & Blu Ray 19th March 2012.