The Beekeeper movie poster

The Beekeeper

In theaters January 12, 2024

Rated

,

103 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , , ,

The Beekeeper (2024) is clown shoes bananas in terms of story, characters, and action, but no one is expecting this to win an Oscar. You’re there to see some shooting, some fighting, and bloody justice, and in that sense, you won’t be disappointed.

Adam Clay (Jason Statham) is a quiet man tending to bees on the back property of a good friend and neighbor, Eloise (Phylicia Rashad). When she’s taken advantage of, leading to tragic and catastrophic consequences, Clay takes on an industry of data centers, hackers, and scumbags to bring retribution. How can a quiet beekeeper do this? Because once he was a literal Beekeeper, a super-secret organization that treats the world as its hive and is dedicated to eradicating the hornets that threaten stability. As he works his way through data centers, looking for the top of the chain, he uncovers powerful individuals protecting a deadly hive of corruption all their own.

I could go on but it’s not necessary. Throughout its 105 minutes, it’s quiet exposition and teetering law and order by FBI agents Verona Parker (Emmy Raver-Lampman) and Matt Wiley (Bobby Naderi) and loud carnival-style barking by guys with names like Rico (Enzo Cilenti) and Mickey (David Witts) who notch their belts with the hundreds of vulnerable adults they scam with their fake computer viruses. Jeremy Irons plays Wallace Westwyld, a stuffy but crafty head of industry burdened with the impossible task of keeping Josh Hutcherson’s Derek Danton alive after hearing he’s pissed off a retired Beekeeper. All of these roles are treated with reverence and gravity, and the tongue-in-cheek gallows humor that comes with knowing an unstoppable killing machine is on its way and “That’s a shame, please bleed over there.”

In many, many ways The Beekeeper parallels John Wick (2014) or even Nobody (2021) about pulling skilled assassins from their quiet, inert lives to rain wrath and destruction, and that’s okay. It’s a popular genre, and even lax efforts are exciting to watch. Jason Statham keeps to his strengths of fighting, shooting, and blowing stuff up, leaving his scant dialog spoken through a throat full of sand to a minimum. Exposition is left to gritty Special Agent Parker, who lives like any other caricature of strong tough women – in a potential hazmat situation and chronically inebriated.

It’s hard to pick nits in a movie so ridiculous that one man can take down FBI, SWAT, and a few dozen mercenary assassins, BUT, I gotta complain about the women. Verona Parker is a tough but unfulfilled career cop who never had her mother’s love. The new Beekeeper is just an unhinged maniac dressed in a neon pink vinyl duster and stiletto boots with a machine gun mounted on the back of her truck. Eloise Parker is a kindly old woman who can run a well-funded children’s charity but trusts fast talkers with her computer’s passwords. This is not to say that every other character is well-nuanced, but these are the barbs in the soft underbelly of a film fat with explosions and never-ending bullets.

I liked The Beekeeper for all of its self-aware flaws and faults. It’s not a long film, it gets to the point quickly, and parts are funny, however unintentionally. You’ll find yourself having a good time in spite of your common sense.

It’s okay to enjoy a loud, mindless movie every once in a while, even if you have to ignore concussions and potentially fatal injuries. The cause is noble, the honey is flammable, and you’ll never forget Statham reminding anyone who will listen before they die that the hive has to be protected. And if you do – don’t worry, there’s an obvious open door for a sequel.

The Beekeeper (2024) is Rated R for swears, suicide, amputation, accelerants, knifing, broken bones, and lots of punching.

The Beekeeper is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

Leave a comment...