Netflix’s End of the Road follows a single mother, Brenda Freeman, who accidentally gets on the wrong side of a crime lord while on a road trip to Texas. With her brother Reggie and two children in tow, she is faced with fatal challenges on her quest for safety.
End of the Road opens with Brenda Freeman (Queen Latifah) and her family kickstarting their move from Los Angeles to Houston, Texas. After her husband’s death Brenda decides to move in with her mom due to financial trouble and she brings along her children, Kelly (Mychala Lee) and Cam (Shaun Dixon), and her brother Reggie (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges).
Their seemingly simple road trip gets out of hand when they witness a man getting murdered in a motel. The deceased is a known associate of a notorious criminal known as Mr. Cross who sets his sights on the Freemans when Reggie steals a bag of cash from the scene of the crime.
To make things worse, Cross kidnaps Cam and asks for the money back. Now Brenda must race against time to return the money (which gets misplaced) to save her son’s life.
Queen Latifah as Brenda is the anchor that holds End of the Road together. Her character is the only one that has a certain depth and range to her. Brenda is a protective mother who can go to any lengths to protect her loved ones and Queen Latifah absorbs her personality.
You believe everything she emotes on screen, from her caring and assertive side to her rageful and fierce one. Chris Bridges as Reggie is the funny addition to the family.
He’s the black sheep, who everyone thinks is a loser, and he plays into that assumption. Bridges does not get enough meat in his narrative to really show off his skills. He exists only as a secondary adult in a dire situation to oversee the kids while the mom does the heavy lifting.
Mychala Lee and Shaun Dixon play their part well as Brenda’s kids. They do not have a lot to do and stick to the basics when it comes to their time on screen.
Beau Bridges as the antagonist Mr. Cross is wasted potential. The character is built up to be extremely dangerous but turns out to be just an elderly cop living with his wife. He has no screen time to showcase his negative side at all.
End of the Road succeeds in a few things which includes sending a message about the importance of family and sticking together in adversity.
The chemistry between the Freemans is a treat to witness. All four characters play off of each other extremely well and seem like an actual dysfunctional family dealing with the passing of a loving member.
The way the film deals with racial tension is applause worthy. Every scene in which a member of the family is sidelined or harassed is subtle yet hits the nail on the head.
This road trip thriller misses the mark in a lot of aspects. The plot is extremely generic and is riddled with tropes. You can see the next twist coming from a mile away.
The limited action scenes in the plot are quite sloppy and are there just to show how far Brenda can go to save her son. However, logically they do not make sense.
For eg. Brenda singlehandedly beats up a a group of men who knocked her out and tied her up 10 minutes ago at gunpoint. However, when she decides to showcase her hand-to-hand combat skills, they fall like flies and no one seems to have a gun handy.
Some plot points do not make sense and are added just to make the film feel more suspenseful — which it isn’t. The runtime is another issue. End of the Road tries to do too much within 90 minutes and fails to develop its protagonists or antagonists.
It feels like an episode of a larger project that never existed. This is unfortunate considering that cast is full of powerhouse performers.
End of the Road has its moments but fails to impress. You can go for a one time watch for Queen Latifah’s performance but the film is mostly passable.
End of the Road
Director: Millicent Shelton
Date Created: 2022-09-09 22:58