Plot: Elliott (Ross Stephenson) is kind of a dope, but he has a good heart. He also has feelings for the beautiful Sherri (Maureen McGill), so when she asks him to be part of a bank heist, he agrees in hopes it will make her return his affections. As he drives the crooks to safety after the robbery goes down, he slows down to avoid hitting some children, which enrages the other criminals. The others decide to cut him out and toss him from the moving car, leaving him out of the loot and left on his own, while they head off. A police chase soon follows and the others are killed, either from bullets or drowning when the car sinks into the depths. Sherri is irate that Elliott didn’t save the cash, so he turns him and now, he is locked up in prison. Can Elliott survive the crooked guards, cruel prison officials, and predatory homosexuals, or will he succumb to the many evils of prison?
Entertainment Value: This is an interesting take on the prison movie genre, though it does use all the usual cliches and conventions. As soon as Elliott lands behind bars, the movie seems to focus on the homosexual element inside the prison and how Elliott tries to stay clear of such activities. I can see some viewers being offended by how some of the gay men are portrayed as sexual predators with no real limits on their carnal desires, but the movie does offer up a scene where a man explains that in prison, the sex is more about power and loneliness, not sexual preference. So yes, it does paint homosexuality in an exploitative light at times, but it doesn’t feel like an anti-gay movie in the least, in my opinion. The usual prison elements are here, shower scenes, crooked guards, gangs, and of course, rape is an ever present threat. The cast is fine, but Ross Stephenson is given a tough task to shoulder, as Elliott is pretty much a naive hayseed and as such, it is hard to connect with the lead. But his social obliviousness and awkward presence are fun to watch, even so. Maureen McGill is solid as a gold digger, while wrestling legend Abdullah the Butcher is one of the star prisoners here. Caged Men feels a lot like most prison movies, but has just enough oddball moments to stand out, not to mention the strange lead character. So if you appreciate prison movies, awkward characters, or Canadian tax shelter cinema, give it a spin.
This is a prison movie, so it stands to reason we have some nakedness, including a number of bare male asses. A shower scene showcases the rear ends of several gentlemen, as well as some full frontal exposure. Our lead’s penis is given some substantial screen time, but the goods of a couple other inmates can be seen ever so briefly as well. The movies uses the insanely bright red blood, which I love and it pops up a few times here. After the early police chase, one man’s entire head is basically soaked in the stuff, while a few other brief bursts of violence surface as well. This is all non graphic in nature, but there is a gardening tool execution and a manic slash-up toward the finale. The dialogue is passable, with Elliott’s naive and awkward nature leading to some fun exchanges, as well as some expected tough guy talk and over the top prison bitch moments. On the craziness side, we have Abdullah the Butcher, a rape scene set to prison bluegrass, a domineering midget kingpin, a humorous Spartacus moment, and Elliott himself, who is quite odd in his own right.
Overall Insanity: 5/10