Is the new Netflix movie End of the Road worth your time? Let’s dive in with our should you watch review of the new movie headlined by Queen Latifah.
Queen Latifah (Chicago, Netflix’s Hustle, The Equalizer) stars as Brenda in the movie about a cross-country road trip that becomes a highway to hell for Brenda and her family. Alone in the New Mexico desert, they have to fight for their lives when they become the targets of a mysterious killer.
Also featuring in the movie includes Beau Bridges as Captain Hammers (Netflix’s Bloodline, One Night In Miami), Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Reggie (Fast and the Furious franchise, Crash), Mychala Lee as Kelly (Truth Be Told).
I want to start this review by admiring our collective strength. It has not been an easy Summer for Netflix Original Movies, but we have endured; And with trailers for seemingly every Halloween Horror/Thriller or Awards Season Hopeful, we know that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter each day.
However, the remnants of that challenging Summer of movies are still here, and this week, they take the form of the new Queen Latifah-led thriller (?) End of the Road.
The film centers around a family who has been reeling emotionally & financially due to the loss of their matriarch from a battle with cancer.
When they lose their family home, they are forced to pack up and move halfway across the country to Texas to live with their grandmother. While traveling on a tight budget, they stay the night in a cheap, seedy motel.
After overhearing a violent struggle that ends in bloodshed, Brenda (Latifah) runs into the room to find a man dying from a gunshot wound.
In search of supplies to help this man, Uncle Reggie (Ludacris) finds a duffle bag full of money and decides to take it to change his family’s fortunes for the better.
Unfortunately for them, their fortunes turn for the worse when crime kingpin Mr. Cross comes looking for what is rightfully his to violent ends. Reggie didn’t see No Country For Old Men.
Produced by Queen Latifah & “Saw” franchise producer Mark Burg, End of the Road limps to the cross-section between a road trip crime film, a “duffel bag full of money” film, & a family drama. The first two subgenres usually supply their audience with terror & dread around every corner hiding from bad men in dangerous & desolate locales. The Hitchhiker. Joy Ride. Breakdown. Kalifornia. The dangers of the open road where no one can hear you scream and the law is of very little use.
While this film may have a few of these elements on paper, the execution is where the film veers off the road. Noticeably directed by veteran TV/music video director & first-time film director Millicent Shelton, this movie has the look & feel of a low-budget TV movie version of a thriller. Uninspired cinematography with bright neons in the middle of the desert mixed with cliche “good ol’ boy” desert dwellers turn this simple family road drama from basic to parody.
At its best, End of the Road explores the themes of loss, racism, & failing healthcare systems within their family dynamic and the society that doesn’t look out for the good people within its borders.
However, those moments and conversations are drowned out by the tired & boring plot conventions of “good guy turns bad” and “bad guy wants his money by any means necessary”.
Toss in cartoonish action scenes with army brat turned John Wick Brenda, who takes out a camp full of drugged-up yokels armed to the teeth, or with the family’s Home Alone escape from the crime kingpin of the Southwest and you get a recipe for a clumsy, washed production.
Also, watch No Country For Old Men. Please. Thank you.
Should you Play, Pause or Stop End of the Road?
STOP. I was SO ready to give this a pause until the cartoonish, paint-by-numbers 3rd act. No style. Barely any substance. No Pause.
Watch End of the Road on Netflix if you like
- The Equalizer
- Cold Comes The Night
- Joy Ride
- The Hitcher
- Money For Nothing
- Lakeview Terrace