Machine Gun Preacher! It’s not just fun to say! It’s a movie, too! Marc Forster’s latest (the one before the World War Zadaptation fans everywhere are already bemoaning) focuses on a true-life story that comes oh-so-conveniently pre-packaged with a catchily-nicknamed protagonist.

The film stars Gerard Butler as that supposed “machine gun preacher,” Sam Childers, a former drug dealer who turned his life around to save the often-orphaned children of East Africa, youngsters forced into the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to serve as soldiers before they’re even old enough to properly wield a gun. The synopsis for the film makes the story seem fantastic, and in the hyperbolic sense, because the concept of a former drug dealer saving African child soldiers by way of going straight into the belly of the beast and rescuing said kids by hand (and with a machine gun) is all a bit too much to believe. Yet, Childers is indeed a real person, and Forster’s film does depict some real life instances in between a mess of standard action film beats.

Take a look at the boom-boom-pow trailer after the break.

While Childers’ story is certainly inspiring, this trailer is not. It’s a weirdly paint-by-the-numbers affair, filled with inspiring music that builds to constant crescendos, a muddled sense of timing, and Butler gruffly tossing off one-liners we’ve all heard before (stuff like a “Must be doin’ somethin’ right!” when he earns enemies, and a “See where waitin’ gets ya!” when they strike back at him). Childers’ story is special, but this trailer doesn’t make Machine Gun Preacher look that way.

The film also stars Michelle Monaghan, Kathy Baker, Madeline Carroll, Michael Shannon, and Souleymane Sy Savane.

Machine Gun Preacher will premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and will open in wide release on September 23. [Apple]


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