To avoid any misspent cash this weekend, listen up, Hobo With A Shotgun fans: Machine Gun Preacher, Gerard Butler’s latest attempt to make us forget that he’s pissed on his 300 reputation with a series of painful rom-coms, isn’t another shameless and gleefully insane throwback to old-school exploitation movies. The title Machine Gun Preacher certainly implies that it’s the kind of flick you’d catch on a double bill with Hells Angels On Wheels, but director Marc Forster’s (Monster’s Ball, Quantum Of Solace) dramatic action film occupies real estate within a completely different subgenre of cinema, that of the always polarizing “white savior” movies.
Though it's dressed in an appealing, Rambo-like aesthetic, Machine Gun Preacher is, at its core, the “based on true events” tale of Sam Childers (Butler), an ex-biker and convict who finds religion and travels to Africa to rebuild homes for the country’s impoverished residents stricken by the aftereffects of civil war; lest it only be inspirational, Forster’s pic is also concerned with violent sensationalism, depicting Childers as an automatic-weapon-toting freedom fighter unafraid to let blood flow in the name of justice.
Compared to Hollywood’s recent output of movies based on heroic caucasians, Machine Gun Preacher’s shoot-’em-up angle makes it far more interesting than its racially pandering peers. But, still, it’s the latest in an elongated line of movies focused on selling us the idea that things always work out as long as there’s vanilla around. For a look at the films that actually make Machine Gun Preacher look in touch, proceed through our countdown of The 10 Lamest White Savior Movies.
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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)