After making her stamp in television for nearly two decades, director Millicent Shelton’s second feature film arrives in End of the Road from Netflix. Christopher J. Moore penned the original script for the movie, with go-to thriller scribe David Loughery handling the rewrite.
A cross-country road trip becomes a highway to hell for Brenda (Queen Latifah), her two kids, Kelly(Mychala Lee) & Cam (Shaun Dixon), and her brother Reggie (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) as they make their way from the Golden State to the Lone Star State. After witnessing a brutal murder, the family finds themselves in the crosshairs of a mysterious killer. Now alone in the New Mexico desert and cut off from any help, Brenda is pulled into a deadly fight to keep her family alive.
Milcent Shelton first came to my attention when directed for the likes of Mint Condition, Xscape, and Mary J. Blige in the early nineties. In my sophomore year of high school, her debut film, Ride, arrived, which I also liked. I was fond of Shelton’s style, so naturally, whenever I saw her as the director on television series such as Black-ish, Luke Cage, or the reboot of 90210, I couldn’t help but smile.
I went into End of the Road with an open mind. Most thrillers nowadays follow a particular formula which is fine, as sometimes you just mindless entertainment. Shelton does what she can with the direction, but it seems like scriptwriter David Loughery had creative control over the film. The star of our movie Queen Latifah could do a role like this in her sleep, so her acting is what you would expect.
Outside of one of the worst dialogue delivery he’s ever muttered in his acting career, Ludacris also does a halfway decent job in his role. The film could have easily turned his character into comic relief, but we never get to the point. In addition, her kids do solid work, and it was great to see Shaun Dixon in another role outside his scene-stealing in Dhar Mann projects.
My biggest gripe with End of the Road is the improbable situations our characters find themselves in, some of which were their faults. Usually, I can suspend my disbelief, but there are too many moments in the film where all I could do was shake my hand at the incompetence. Now, on the one hand, if the characters didn’t make the mistakes, we may not have a movie. However, while David Loughery hasn’t necessarily penned Oscar-worthy material in the past, usually, his output isn’t this weak.
Finally, even someone who has never seen a movie can predict who our villain is a mile away. Despite our star’s and the director’s best intentions, End of the Road is ninety-one minutes that many viewers won’t get back.
Final Grade: D+
End of the Road is available to stream tomorrow on Netflix
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