Rarely will you see an action-packed true story made into a movie. And Machine Gun Preacher, directed by Marc Forster, is that one rare piece.
When Sam Childers (now played by Gerard Butler) – with the real one who is still very much alive – leaves prison for the last time and reunites with wife, Lynn (Michelle Monaghan), an ex-stripper who has recently converted to Christianity, he finds himself in church as well as embracing his newfound faith too. The changed man later proceeds to convert his good buddy Donnie (Michael Shannon), start his own construction company and build a new church before he left for a mission trip to East Africa and joins freedom fighter Deng (Souleymane Sy Savene) to save children from warring groups that kidnap or kill them.
The film is of a true story of a man that turned over a new leaf and completed amazing, almost-unbelievable feats that also attempts to be the formulaic Hollywood action flick. Uplifting, yes. Sufficient action, perhaps. But both? Maybe not so much since the believability level of the flick dramatically decreases with the amount of cliches like having a skeptical aid worker question him only to have him save her later or a mute boy speaking as well as dramatic moments such as him shooting his way out of a tornado or making needlessly severe decisions.
In the end, Machine Gun Preacher ends up more like a formulaic Hollywood production rather than an uplifting true story. It also made the man look as if he was using his ends to justify his means, which honestly, only God knows the truth.