‘The Enforcer’ Ending, Explained: What Happens To Stray, Billie, And Lexus? Is Cuda Dead?


Richard Hughes’s film, “The Enforcer,” centers around a man named Mr. Cuda, who is evidently in the wrong line of business. Usually, there is no space for emotions or empathy in the mind of a cold-blooded contract killer. Perhaps, once upon a time, Mr. Cuda might have been a ruthless hitman, but in the film, he doesn’t fit the bill. Having a family of his own probably brought about a change in the man, and then serving jail time developed a fear of losing his family. As “The Enforcer” begins, we see Mr. Cuda walking towards the shore of a beach in Miami. He has been shot, and his clothes are blood-stained. While talking about sunsets and forgiveness, Cuda revisits the recent past, where he tries to redeem himself through the act of saving one innocent life. In a way, he tells the audience his story of redemption, but it is up to the viewers to give the final judgment on whether Cuda deserves forgiveness or not. So, let’s dive deeper into the dark world of Cuda and try to understand it in a better manner.

Spoilers Ahead

‘The Enforcer’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Ricky “Stray” is a backyard fighter who earns a living by putting his life at risk each and every day. Impressed by his zeal and guts, a woman named Estelle calls him to her night bar in Miami. Without going much into the background, the film informs us that Estelle is some sort of kingpin who runs a prostitution ring in the area. She doesn’t waste a moment and immediately informs Stray that she herself has fought her way up the ladder, which is the reason she is especially interested in him; he seems like a hustler to her. Estelle teams up Stray with her most trusted hitman, Mr. Cuda, who drives Stray to South Beach to eliminate a target named Ronnie Fennech. Ronnie owes a lot of money to Estelle and has failed to pay her back, which is why she sent Mr. Cuda to finish him off. But even though Mr. Cuda and Stray finish the mission successfully, Cuda doesn’t like Stray’s amateur working style and thus sends him off.

The very next morning, Cuda pays a visit to his 15-year-old daughter, Lola. It is the first time Cuda meets her after coming out of prison. In an effort to mend his relationship with his daughter, Cuda hands her some money and asks her what she wants for her upcoming 16th birthday. However, it is apparent that Lola doesn’t like her father visiting her at school and hence quickly takes a leave from there. Later, we find Cuda near a beach, where he meets another 15-year-old girl named Billie, who has run away from her foster parent’s house in Atlanta and has come to Miami to start a new life. A woman catches Billie shoplifting, and as soon as Cuda hears the fuss, he quickly comes to Billie’s rescue. Cuda takes Billie to a joint and advises her not to roam the streets of Miami, as they are not safe for a young girl like her. Out of generosity, Cuda pays for a hotel room so that Billie can stay there for a week and, in the meantime, find suitable work to survive in the city. He even hands her some cash along with a golden-colored money clip. Cuda saw a glimpse of his daughter, Lola, in Billie, which could be one of the many reasons why he was so supportive of her. His relationship with Billie eventually becomes a turning point in Cuda’s character and his criminal life.

Later that night, an unknown man kidnaps Billie from her hotel room, and as soon as Cuda finds out about it, he starts looking for her. He even approaches Stray and asks for his help to find Billie. During a debt collection in a Chinese restaurant, Cuda spots the golden money clip in his hand, which he had given to Billie. Cuda starts following the leads and ends up discovering that it was the hotel manager who had sold Bille to a guy named Freddie, who runs a webcam factory in Midtown. Freddie abducts or buys girls through his corrupt ways and later forces them to do obscene scenes for the internet creeps through which he is earning a lot of money. But even though Cuda finds out that it is Freddie who has kidnapped Billie, he cannot help her because Freddie has paid half a million dollars to Estelle as protection money, and if Cuda decides to attack Freddie in order to save Billie, then it will ignite a war between him and Estelle. So, will Cuda raise his arms against his own owner in order to clear his conscience? Absolutely yes, and that is what brings about a much-deserved closure in his character.

What Happens To Stray, Billie, And Lexus?

Cuda tried to convince Estelle to allow him to stop Freddie. However, as it was apparent, Estelle was more interested in money than Cuda’s newfound empathy towards the underage girl. She knew it was time for Cuda to retire and thus ordered her bodyguard, Doom, to kill him. Suddenly, Stray arrived at Estelle’s office with the bags Freddie had given to him. At this point, Stray had two choices. Either to stay loyal to Estelle and witness the death of his friend-cum-mentor, Cuda, or help Cuda and start a war with Estelle. Fortunately, Stray chose Cuda over Estelle, and during the fight with Doom, he unclipped the shotgun hanging on his vest. While Doom was trying to suffocate Cuda to death, Cuda quickly grasped the shotgun and killed Doom. In a fit of rage, Estelle tried to shoot Stray, but suddenly, Lexus arrived and shot Estelle. Lexus or Sloane used to work at Estelle’s night bar as a prostitute and a dancer, but as soon as she fell in love with Stray, she hoped for a completely different life and yearned to escape. Hence, shooting Estelle meant that not only did she free herself from Estelle’s prostitution ring but also saved Stray from having a similar fate as Cuda. A bleeding Cuda asked them to take the money and run while he went to the old cookie factory in Midtown, where Freddie had kept Billie captive along with several other girls.

Quite heroically, Cuda saved all the girls and shot down Freddie’s men. However, as soon as he stepped into Freddie’s den, Freddie, hiding in the dark, shot him in the stomach. Freddie wanted to see Cuda bleed to death, but fortunately, Billie, who had been unlocked by one of the girls, arrived there and picked up Cuda’s gun, with which she shot Freddie. At this point, Billie wanted to shoot Cuda, too, as she believed he was the one who had sold her to Freddie, but Cuda quickly cleared her misunderstanding, and together they left the factory, leaving Freddie to die. Cuda drove to a location where he had already called Stray and Lexus, and there he requested Stray to take Billie with him and leave Florida as soon as possible. He ordered him to take half a million dollars and travel to a place that is far, far away from Miami. Somewhere, no one will ever be able to find them.

Stray took his mentor’s advice and shifted with Billie and Lexus to a cold region in the mountains far away from the shores. They had built a peaceful life for themselves, and Stray opened an auto repair shop under his real name, “Ricky.” Once, Cuda had told Stray that he had quite a talent in fixing automobiles, and indeed, Stray remembered that compliment, which influenced his decision to enter into the same line of business in order to live a life worth living. Nevertheless, he had half a million dollars with him and could have survived even without it.

‘The Enforcer’ Ending Explained: Is Cuda Dead?

After bidding goodbye to Billie, Cuda drove to his daughter’s school, where he left his “barracuda” car for her. It was the perfect birthday present for Lola. At the beginning of the film, when Cuda had asked Billie for her advice on what he should give to his 16-year-old daughter, Billie told him that whatever he wanted to give should come from his heart and, more than that, it should be something that only he could give. We rarely see Cuda without his car in “The Enforcer,” so it becomes an extension of his personality. The car would always remind Lola of her father since there was no other legacy that Cuda could hand over to her.

Soon after leaving his car, Cuda walked to the shore of one of the beaches in Miami, where he took his last breath. The last scene reminded us of the painting that Cuda had bought from a fine art gallery, probably run by his ex-wife. As soon as Cuda saw the painting for the first time, something struck him. In the painting, we see a man sitting by the shore under a tree, living the most peaceful life. Probably, Cuda too yearned for such calmness, which is why we always saw him roaming around the beaches when he was not killing people or collecting debts. During his final moments, Cuda sat under the tree just like the man whom we saw in the painting and died there in peace. In the last scene, we see the same painting in Stray’s or Ricky’s garage. This suggests that Cuda might not have been able to live a peaceful life himself, as depicted in the painting, but he indeed helped Stray, Lexus, and Billie to live one. By sacrificing himself, he saved three lives, and for him, it was his redemption.

“The Enforcer” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Richard Hughes.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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