Machine Gun Preacher Directed by: Marc Forster Starring: Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon Rating: R Release Date: September 23, 2011 (limited)
TRAILER SCORE: 4/10
Thoughts by TSR: When I first heard there was a film called Machine Gun Preacher, I assumed one of two things: That it was a loose sequel to Hobo with the Shotgun, or that it was based on some lesser-known comic book property. Even Gerard Butler’s involvement made either of those options seem semi-plausible. The last thing I would have expected is what we’re given in this trailer. Let’s just say I would have preferred the Hobo with a Shotgun sequel over the formulaic film this trailer sells.
Don’t get me wrong, the true story of Sam Childers is a good one. I’m just not sure if overbearing Oscar bait is what it deserves. Between the inspirational music and endless melodramatic one-liners such as “I need the money… so that I can save some children!” it almost feels like a parody. Gerard Butler’s involvement is interesting. He’s never particularly impressed me in his romantic comedies or action films, but between this and Coriolanus later this year it’s nice to see him attempting to stretch a bit. Butler is believable as an ex-biker gang member-turned-child saving hero, but I’m not convinced he’ll pull off the role completely. Some of it could be the dialogue he has to say, but the shaky accent certainly leaves a lot to be desired.
Another factor that doesn’t leave me too hopeful is Marc Forster directing. Whenever his name is brought up my first thought is that I like him, but when I look at his filmography to remind myself what he’s done I realize he’s only made one film I really like (Stranger Than Fiction). It just looks very conventional, and this is a story I wish was done with a bit more flair.
I used the term Oscar bait earlier in a way that made it sound derogatory. That’s not always the case. I frequently like films that are looked upon as such (last year’s The King’s Speech, for example). Sometimes it’s just too much, and that’s the feeling I get from this trailer for Machine Gun Preacher. Hopefully it’s simply cut together in a formulaic way to get people interested, but it doesn’t leave me with much hope for the final product.