“End of the Road” (2022) / Z-View

End of the Road (2022)

Directors:  Millicent Shelton

Screenplay:  Christopher J. Moore, David Loughery

Starring: Queen Latifah, Ludacris, Mychala Lee, Shaun Dixon, Beau Bridges, Frances Lee McCain and Keith Jardine

Tagline: There’s No Turning Back..

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Brenda (Latifah), her two children, Kelly (Lee) and Cam (Dixon) along with Brenda’s brother, Reggie (Ludacris) are on a cross-country road trip.  Late at night in their hotel they hear a commotion and gunshot in the next room.  They go over to find a man dying from a bullet wound.  Brenda gives first aide until help arrives.

The next morning, Brenda provides what little information she has to the police.  Sheriff Hammers (Bridges) wants her to stick around, but Brenda says she’s available by phone. The family leaves.  Before too long Brenda receives a call from someone saying he knows who she is and he wants his money back!  Brenda hangs up, only to learn that Reggie took a satchel of cash from the hotel room while Brenda was giving first aide.  Now a brutal killer is on their trail… he wants his money and will kill everyone to get it!

End of the Road starts off well enough.  A family on the road in peril is a idea.  The problem is there’s never any mystery to who the killer is and while the family is placed in dangerous situations, the way the movie unfolds we know that there’s no real danger.  There is a tense situation at the start of the movie between two rednecks in a truck blocking the path of Brenda’s car.  Reggie is ready to fight, but Brenda is able to calm him and get the thugs to move on.  Later Brenda is trapped by a group of white supremacists and she turns into some sort of fighting machine, beating up some and shooting another!  In the final act of the film (get ready for a big spoiler!), we learn Sheriff Hammers is the killer!  We’re supposed to believe that 81 year old Beau Bridges is a physical threat to a woman who handed a butt-whoopin’ to Mace’s (UFC fighter Keith Jardine) skinheads?

What could have made this film work is to change the look and feel to a 1970s blaxploitation movie.  Since every major white character the family interacts with is racist or bad, it wouldn’t have been too difficult.  Throw in a soundtrack that echos Lalo Schifrin or Isacc Hayes and we’d have something.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen and we’re left with an OK movie that should have been better.

End of the Road earns 2 of 5 stars.