END OF THE ROAD (NETFLIX) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: Queen Latifah and Chris Bridges star in this road trip thriller about a mom of two kids who relocates across the country with her kids and brother. The family’s move to the southland is thrown into complete chaos when they witness a murder on their road trip. Now, the murderer will stop at nothing to find them.
End of the Road is no Are We There Yet? You know that cringing unfunny road trip movie starring Ice Cube. However this Queen Latifah starrer which is no comedy actually fares better in terms of laughs. Most of the time, unintentional of course.
Queen Latifah plays Brenda Freeman, a mother to two teenage children who has to relocate to Texas after the death of her husband. It’s a long road trip to her mother’s place and tagging along is her younger brother, Reggie (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), a weed-smoking assistant manager at Chick-fil-A.
Instead of a dysfunctional family grieving over their deceased father/husband or having a little wild adventure along the trip like National Lampoon’s Vacation, the script by Christopher J. Moore and David Loughery turned End of the Road into a half-baked crime thriller with run-of-the-mill car chases and a surprise finale worthy of a third rate M. Night Shyamalan plot twist.
Basically, the Freemans got to all sorts of trouble, first a pair of racist rednecks in which Brenda deescalate the situation by apologising although there were not in the wrong in the first place. Then while spending a night at a motel, they encountered a shooting in the room next door and Reggie being Reggie took a bag of money which supposedly belonged to a drug cartel named Mr Cross.
When Brenda’s younger son gets kidnapped halfway through, she offers to return the money to Mr Cross only to meet a gang of misfits where she gets to mouth a hilarious one-liner after shooting a guy on his leg. Everything seems so predictable and routine that there’s hardly any surprise or suspense. Even the handful of action sequences end up being more clumsy than thrilling.
Even for a title than runs at a nifty 90 minutes, End of the Road feels incredibly lacklustre. The villains are paper-thin and the obvious message about racism can’t quite salvage the wobbly premise. Queen Latifah sure can play a kick-ass heroine but she needs better material at least Ludacris has the Fast and Furious franchise to fall back on.
Review by Linus Tee