Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Final Stop Review: A Promising Start And A Bumpy Ride

Release date: June 1, 2021
Running time: 89 minutes
Starring: Vince Rodriguez, Kelly McCart, Kamy D. Bruder, Caroline Stella, Sheila Guerrero-Edmiston, Garrett Marchbank
Directed By: Jeffrey J. Moore

Jesus (Vince Rodriguez) is a Uride driver who works night and day to take care of his mother. Jesus meets Brianna (Kelly McCart) and falls in love. Unfortunately Brianna has a boyfriend, Kaiden, (Kamy D. Bruder) who is extremely protective. In the midst of trying to figure out how to win Brianna's love Jesus’s abusive father returns home. Jesus's life takes a sharp left turn as he tries to juggle Brianna, his mother, Kaiden, his father, and his two jobs. Will Jesus buckle under the pressure or will he be able to break the cycle of abuse and drive into the sunset with the girl of his dreams? Final Stop is a psychological thriller about love, abuse, and the pressures that come when they meet.

Final Stop has a fun start that looks into the culture of ride share drivers and what it must be like to actually be one.  The film begins humorously but quickly turns a little more sinister when Jesus meets Brianna and Kaiden.  You can tell from the start where this is going to go, but Final Stop does have a few surprises.  The movie does play on some ideas of chivalry as Jesus's actions start off appearing to be chivalrous, but quickly take a more sinister turn.  I did enjoy the shift in perspective.  It crept up on me and when I started thinking more from Briana's viewpoint, it became much more unsettling.  She was basically surrounded by toxic relationships and had nowhere to go for support.  And Final Stop does also introduce some interesting characters to this ordeal with very mixed motivations.

However, the film itself is a little too complicated, with a few too many threads happening at the same time.  Jesus's juggling of so many aspects of life is admirable, but it can lead to a confusing situation.  And the film feels like it tries to make one character more sympathetic, but it just falls flat.  I didn't much sympathize with that character and mostly felt sad for the whole situation.  But most importantly, Jesus's character just changes too quickly.  He went to some extremes in record time and it felt unnatural given what we were supposed to know about him.  And although the acting is fine in the movie, and Rodriguez does a fine job as Jesus, it just wasn't a very convincing performance.  He definitely is asked to go to some extremes, but in the end I wasn't convinced of his character.  His more rage filled side didn't shine through and his nice guy persona didn't feel genuine.  And in the end, this film deals with some pretty toxic relationships without giving the viewer much to gain from them.  The film feels like it goes for a shock ending but that causes the viewer to be left with an ending that is just very unfulfilling.  

Final Stop has an interesting premise and promising opening, but the ride gets bumpy as the characters become more toxic and it never quite gets to its destination. 

Pass on it.

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Final Stop is available digitally on June 1, 2021.  

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