Caged No More online movie review - "Caged No More" is important and entertaining, but moderately flawed.
We need to end slavery in America. Now, before you tell me I'm over 150 years late in making that statement, let me clarify.
I'm talking about human trafficking, which is actually modern-day slavery ? and it happens in the United States. It's common to think of human trafficking as a problem in other countries, but Americans are being taken and sold overseas ? sometimes by their own families! And this slave trade works in both directions. Some Americans have "purchased" people from other countries to be held against their will and exploited here in the United States. In this country, about half of those enslaved individuals are used for sex. The other half are here as a source of cheap labor ? in agriculture, factories, restaurants and hotels. It's a real problem ? one that we need to acknowledge, understand and combat. These are the goals of the drama "Caged No More" (PG-13, 1:30).
Loretta Divine (from "Death at a Funeral", "Dreamgirls" and "Crash") plays Aggie Prejean, a retired New Orleans nanny whose goddaughter Macy dies in her arms after a drug overdose. Macy's dying words are a cryptic plea for Aggie to save Macy's daughter from their father. Aggie doesn't understand at first, but with the help of her niece, Leona (Debra Wilson), Aggie comes to believe that Macy's husband, Jack (Kevin Sorbo), plans to sell their 14-year-old daughter, Elle (Abigail Duhon) into sex slavery to cover his drug debts. Aggie also learns Jack has a twin brother named Richard DuLonde (also played by Sorbo), who happens to be a wealthy local businessman. Posing as hired help, Aggie sneaks into a charity gala at the home of Richard and his wife, Lottie (Cynthia Gibb), to ask for their help in locating Jack and Elle.
The DuLondes are sympathetic and bring their family's considerable talents and resources to bear on the problem. Their son Wil (Alan Powell), a former special forces soldier, uses his contacts, while his best friend, Tyler (Anthony Evans), uses his computer skills to find out that Jack has taken Elle to Greece. The DuLondes send Wil, Tyler and Aggie to Athens, even as Jack's putting Elle through the charade of entering a beauty pageant so he can sell her to a local brothel, run by a cold-hearted madam (Madelon Curtis). As Wil and Aeton (Christos Vasilopoulos), an old friend formerly with the Greek special forces, make a plan to prevent the sale, they're also looking for Elle's older sister, Skye (Cassidy Gifford, from "The Gallows" and "God's Not Dead"), who is apparently not studying at an art school in London, as Aggie had been led to believe. Meanwhile, Aggie and the DuLondes pray that God will save the girls.
"Caged No More" is a well-acted and fairly well-directed, but sloppily-written cautionary tale. The experience of Sorbo, Devine and Gifford join nicely with the talents of the newcomers to produce the necessary gravitas. In addition to the performances, the production values are also better than in many Christian films, but director Lisa Arnold falls short in marrying the movie's appropriately serious treatment of the story's subject matter with an equally appropriate grittiness. The film feels sanitized for a church-going audience (think a toned-down version of 2009's "Taken"). Unfortunately, the script gets a bit preachy as it awkwardly uses cameos by Cassidy Gifford's mother, Kathie Lee Gifford, as well as a representative from an anti-trafficking organization, plus Christian singer Natalie Grant and Louisiana Governor and erstwhile presidential candidate Bobby Jindal to educate the audience about the movie's main issue. The dialog also lacks realism and many of the plot points feel contrived, those contrivances explained away (if they're explained away at all) as God's doing. A little more realism in this film would have helped drive its message home, but it still takes its subject seriously enough and weaves a good enough story to make it an important film to see and could even be called entertaining. I give this movie a "B", while also noting that "Caged No More" is meant to be part of a trilogy, with the sequel being set up nicely by this film's ending, which also includes a call to action on this important worldwide problem.