Director: Millicent Shelton
Writer: David Loughery
Starring: Queen Latifah, Chris Bridges, and Beau Bridges
Queen Latifah stars as Brenda in Netflix’s latest disposable thriller End of the Road. After putting herself in debt while caring for her dying husband, Brenda is forced to move with her two children and brother, taking a three-day road trip to get to their new home. Along the way they get tangled up with a killer after witnessing a murder in a motel. Brenda’s brother, Reggie (Chris Bridges) makes things worse by stealing a bag filled with money from the crime scene, seeing it as a way to save his family.
Before the family even reach the motel that kickstarts the main plot, they’re already on a nightmare road trip. There’s a diversion that takes hours out of their day and leads them into the middle of nowhere where they encounter a bunch of racist locals who menaces them on the road, like the truck from Duel. Pretty much everyone the family encounters is racist, evil, or both. Everything that can goes wrong does.
The family are clearly not welcome anywhere they travel, but they stick together. There’s some good banter between them, especially Reggie with his nephew and niece. They feel like a real family, and it gives the film a lot of heart and makes it enjoyable. It’s just a shame that everything else about the film is completely stupid.
The characters just act really dumb. Reggie takes the money from a crime scene, and it causes most of the trouble. Then instead of listening to the voice on the phone demanding the money back, Brenda takes control and tells them she will give it back on her terms and leaves it in a cupboard in a different motel room. Reggie then pretty much has a tantrum saying that Brenda is stopping him from living his dreams by taking the money back. Are we supposed to feel sorry for the man that’s put his family in harm’s way due to pure greed?
While the money is in the motel room, unsurprisingly it is intercepted by someone else, and that leads to the most ridiculous and funniest scene of the film. After chasing down the girl who stole the money from the motel Brenda ends up being captured by a group of Neo-Nazis and manages to not only get free but does a decent job of fighting them off, stealing a gun, and getting the money back from them. It’s completely unbelievable but is still entertaining to watch.
Then we get to the final act, which starts with one of the most obvious twists possible. There’s absolutely no surprise when it happens, to the point that you’d hope the film wouldn’t go there because it’s so obvious, but it does. The final action set piece is pretty good though, and the villain’s getting their comeuppance is funny to watch.
End of the Road is a throwaway film. If you’ve got nothing else to watch then it will pass ninety minutes, but it won’t do much more than that.
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