- Jason Statham, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Bobby Naderii, Josh Hutcherson
- Written by
- Kurt Wimmer
- Directed by
- David Ayer
- Run Time
- 1h 45min
- Release Date
- January 12th, 2024
Years ago Jason Statham made a remark roughly stating that he wanted his name to be included in future conversations about action legends with names like Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis. Since 1998 he was well on his way, punching, kicking, and shooting his way to that coveted action pantheon. He even eventually starred alongside Stallone in the Expendables series. Over the past few years he’s been rolling with the Fast & Furious franchise, or fighting prehistoric sharks. But he still hasn’t lost that hard-edged look, or that gruff voice, and he can still kick-ass with the best of them. He latest The Beekeeper, directed by David Ayer (Fury, Suicide Squad) pits him against…well everybody I think.
Adam Clay (Statham) is solitary beekeeper who rents his space to live and work with his bees from Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad). They mostly mind each others business unless the bees make an unwanted hive on the property. When Eloise is the victim of a cyber crime, it ends tragically, and her daughter Verona (Emmy Raver-Lampman) who also happens to be an FBI agent suspects Clay. Shortly after clearing himself of suspicion he makes a call to his former employer, an organization with all available resources within the government. This leads him to the organization that stole the life of his neighbor, a shell company that scams the elderly over the phone. Led by spoiled rich boy Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson) and his uncle Wallace (Jeremy Irons) their businesses begin to unravel as Clay sets off on a rampage to burn down everything they own. As the body count rises and the stakes become national, Clay’s mission to keep the hive in order leads to unexpected places and lots of bloodshed.
Taking a page straight out of John Wick, The Beekeeper keeps our hero silent but deadly while he kicks the crap out of every low-life that enters the frame. Some of his methods are simple gun barrels though the neck, to more creative, strapping a guy to a speeding truck, which is sailing off a bridge. Since Statham says little throughout the film, the humorous banter is left for Raver-Lampman and her FBI partner played by Bobby Naderi. As they are one step behind Clay and continue to clean up the bodies he leaves behind, you just want to get to the next action scene. The script by Kurt Wimmer tries it’s best to be like Wick with the shadowy organization within a government and an anti-hero with a weird moral code. Wimmer has written some great action flicks like Street Kings, Salt, and Law Abiding Citizen. But for me he will always be the guy who wrote and directed the best adaptation of the Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451. The 2002 underrated Equilibrium (gun-kata rules!).
I was slightly disappointed by this script, or more to the point the delivery of the dialogue by Hutcherson and Irons as there are times where they seem to be confused about how they should playing their characters. The same can be said for Naderi and Raver-Lampman as the wise-cracking FBI partners. They can be really funny, but when they mumble thought the lines or worse have to turn on the serious, it’s almost just as funny, but not in the good way. There are elements that take bold swings that remind me of the comic books written by Mark Millar of Kick-Ass fame, specifically his book Nemesis. Seek it out, it’s crazy. But I would have preferred something that is not trying to be John Wick. Ayer has Jason Statham and a simple script with a diverse group of actors, it just doesn’t land like it should. Still The Beekeeper is a strong and solid action movie, which has Statham continuing to be a hard-edged instrument of destruction. And Ayer plays those parts to perfection. The rest of the film just needed to be on board, bad bee puns and all.