Queen Latifah’s new film is enjoyable, if easily forgettable, an action thriller about a family on a road trip inadvertently finding trouble.
This review of the Netflix film End of the Road (2022) does not contain spoilers.
Starring Queen Latifah and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, End of the Road is an action comedy thriller directed by Millicent Shelton (best known for her work on 30 Rock). The film starts by introducing our main protagonist, Brenda (Queen Latifah) – a widow who lost her husband to cancer. Due to financial constraints, she has to move her entire family across the country from Los Angeles to Texas. The rest of the family consists of Brenda’s stoner brother, Reggie (Ludacris), her smarty pants son, Cam (Shaun Dixon), and her teenage daughter, Kelly (Mychala Lee).
I found the first few minutes of the movie promising. It told me who these people are, why they’re embarking on a road trip and where they’re going. The film also does a good job establishing the relationship between Brenda and her loved ones – They’re a tight-knit group and they recently suffered a major loss. The beginning also introduces the main villain, at least by name, Mr. Cross.
After a few hours on the road, the family finds themselves needing to take a detour because of road works. As soon as they stop at a gas station, it becomes clear that, as African-Americans, their safety isn’t exactly guaranteed on those southern roads. It doesn’t take long before they get in trouble with two young hooligans Kelly gave the finger to. They deserved it, but the film made a point of showing what kind of trouble women can get themselves into when responding in kind to rudeness. In this case, the two hooligans only stopped after humiliating Brenda into an apology they didn’t earn.
The real trouble doesn’t start until nighttime, after checking in at The Sundown Motel (maybe a reference to the infamous sundown towns). Brenda, Reggie, and the kids are woken up in the middle of the night by the sounds of a struggle followed by a gunshot. The adults walk into the motel room next door where they find the body of a man who tried to run from Mr. Cross with a bag full of money. What happens next is as predictable as entertaining. Reggie takes the money to Brenda’s despair putting his loved ones in mortal danger.
While End of the Road is entertaining, it’s a fairly forgettable flick. As I was watching, one question kept popping up in my mind: Why? Why did she do that? Why did they go to a theme park? Why didn’t they call the police? Why did they separate? Why are they showing yet another flashback?
In the end, there’s a predictable twist. Actually, the whole film is pretty easy to predict from the get-go as the use of foreshadowing is as subtle as a bull in a china shop. Despite its shortcomings, the film has some genuinely funny scenes, the action sequences are well made and it boasts some brilliant performances from the entire cast. Overall, End of the Road is perfect to watch while sipping wine on a rainy Friday night.
What did you think of the Netflix film End of the Road (2022)? Comment below.