Netflix’s newest action-thriller comes in the form of End of the Road which stars Queen Latifah alongside Ludacris who is credited as Chris Bridges in this film. End of the Road is currently enjoying its place at the Number 1 spot on Netflix Philippines Top Ten Movies list which was why we decided to check it out ourselves and review it here at This Is Hype Ph.
End of the Road Review: Overview
As mentioned End of the Road stars Queen Latifah and Ludacris alongside Mychala Lee, Shaun Dixon, Beau Bridges, and many more. Latifah plays the role of Brenda, a recently widowed mother who takes her children Kelly (Lee) and Cam (Dixon) together with her brother Reggie (Ludacris) on a little road trip to relocate. Things turn for the family when they witness a gruesome murder in the room next door at the motel that they opted to stay in for the night. To make matters worse, Reggie decides to take a bag of money from the crime scene which then opens the door for a cat and mouse chase between powerful and mysterious drug dealers and the family. Brenda must take action in order to save her family from men and women who are relentless to regain what is theirs.
End of the Road Review: Spoiler Warnings
We will keep our review of End of the Road free from spoilers for those who still want to check it out for themselves. We will focus our discussion on the overall premise, acting and visuals of the film.
Simple and Predictable
Too simple. Too predictable. It has to be said right off the bat in this review that The End of the Road story doesn’t have much to offer and even feels like a lesser and mediocre version of road trips and action films. It tries to jam so many familiar tropes and in doing so feels like it tries so hard in creating a decent action film but ultimately fails in doing so. It’s a mediocre attempt at a Taken-like film with the use of kidnapping while also trying to visually and thematically feel like a Jordan Peele film like Nope or Get Out (Read: Jordan Peele Movies Ranked and Rated). As a whole, however, End of the Road is unable to achieve any of this. It instead feels like a rip-off of all of these films.
The film also provides a lot of predictable moments, especially towards the end. The so-called twist was mediocrely done as there was no utilization of shock and awe. Instead, we get a plot that is so direct and to the point that not even the plot twist was even able to salvage it. This plot twist was even the element in the film that solidified its demise because this was supposedly the big selling point of End of the Road. Instead, the very premise of the movie turned the film’s promising nature into a spiraling head-first dive to irrelevancy.
Up to this point where such a twist was revealed, however, End of the Road proved to show a lot of potentials but that was all it ever was. The themes and depiction of racial discrimination were spot-on and engaging to witness. It painted a very dark and heavy theme to the story that should have been the main direction of the film. If only that were the main focus then End of the Road could have had a more successful run. Instead, the film had nowhere to go on but downhill and at a velocity so fast that nothing at all could have saved it. I would have to say that those scenes seen in the first half of the film and the composition of the family itself were just the bare minima to bring a little sense of saving grace to End of the Road.
Queen No More
I have to be honest, I was utterly disappointed with Queen Latifah for this one. Admittedly, however, I still see her as someone with whom comedy and romance films would still be her personal niche. Her acting prowess in this film was sub-par and mediocre at best. I do know that she has taken action roles, given her role in the reboot of The Equalizer which is still ongoing as of writing. End of the Road however is far from her best work to date. Her performance felt forced and the action scenes being unbelievable is an understatement. There was no empathy or true relatability with her role and instead, it truly felt like she was disconnected from her character, Brenda, and from us as the audience.
Furthermore, Ludacris outshined her for this one. Don’t get me wrong his portrayal wasn’t at all outstanding but it was far better off with the relatability factor. It also felt more suited to him and even natural as the stoner uncle who has a serious side to him despite the wacky and quirkiness that the role demands. The actor was sadly under-utilized and served more as a last-minute addition to serve some needed comic relief. This all goes back to the story itself, however. The plot in itself doesn’t give them much room to move and the ridiculousness of it all down to the last moments which involve graphic and gory scenes and a corny escape plan felt again all too forced for my liking.
Slam on the Brakes for the Visuals
What is even more surprising is that the visual aspect also suffered greatly as an overwhelmingly confusing mess. I must admit the laid-back color grading with sepia and natural light undertones to fully capture the road trip vibes was great, to begin with. It allowed us as viewers to get hooked but just like how the story flows to a steep dive towards the middle, the visual aspect suffered greatly as well by taking a similar turn.
Once the family gets into their dingy little motel, everything goes downhill. The film suddenly decides to adopt a neon-like color palette that heavily relies on bright yet contrastingly dark-feeling colors of deep red. It’s as if the visuals themselves point to a change in the overall tone but it doesn’t give much justice to it. It reverts back to a color array similar to that in Nope where the Western theme park brings too much of the same vibes as the aforementioned film. It reaches its peak in bringing in the confusing tone in visuals and color towards the latter part of the film with a car chase towards the woods with a bright shade of violet that lights us the night sky as a thick fog looms around our characters. This execution supposedly aimed at aesthetics and creativity but it didn’t add any of that, instead, it even became a distraction — well that may just be me. All of these point to one thing — confusion. There wasn’t a single consistent direction that they took and instead just like the story it just became a plain, boring, and irrelevant showcase of nothingness.
End of the Road Review: Final Verdict
I’m still surprised to be quite honest that End of the Road, as of writing, is still at the number one spot on Netflix Philippines’ Top Ten Films. It honestly is pretty deceiving. The trailer and premise were again promising but it sadly didn’t deliver. I hoped for some saving grace, especially towards the end but it is a film that’s just too simple and because of this simplicity it becomes a predictable and boring mess. To be fair, it’s not the worst film I have seen as of late but it honestly isn’t even worth the time or energy. Because of a few little (and I really mean minuscule) saving graces, we end our review of End of the Road, by giving it a score of 3 out of 10 on our Hype Meter. We don’t really recommend it to be honest, even if you have nothing better to do as there are far better films that have the same direction that is much more worth it to watch.
Hype Meter: 3/10
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