April 21, 2024

THE BEEKEEPER (4K): Deja Boom!

2024 / 105 min
Review by Mr. Bonnie, the Barbarian😺

This is one of those action movies that wouldn’t exist without those which came before. In this case, it’s probably John Wick. But if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, ol’ Baba Yaga should feel very flattered indeed. 

The Beekeeper doesn’t reinvent the wheel, nor does it really even try, but it’s a fun film that builds a solid foundation on a familiar premise, that of a retired badass driven by revenge to go back into action. Even as the film opens, in no way are we convinced Adam Clay is a simple beekeeper. Partially because he’s played by Jason Statham, but also because it shows him protecting the hive by efficiently destroying a nest of invading hornets…a creative bit of foreshadowing.

When Clay’s close friend and landlord, Eloise (Phylicia Rashad), loses everything from an internet phishing scam, she commits suicide. Her estranged daughter, FBI agent Verona Parker (Emma Raver-Lampman), is determined to nail those responsible. So is Clay, but with decidedly different methods. He’s a former “Beekeeper,” part of an enigmatic group of highly-skilled, government-appointed rogues who typically work above the law to protect the country as they see fit, no matter how extreme. 

And Clay certainly goes to extremes here, using his considerable skills and contacts to track down the scammers and burn the building down. By doing so, he stirs a hornet’s nest (so to speak). That building is just one branch of a data-mining operation run by cocky young douchebag Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson), who of course thinks he can take care of Clay by killing him. But like John Wick, everybody underestimates Clay’s abilities and resolve, even after dire warnings from ex-CIA director Wallace Westwyld (Jeremy Irons), who runs security for Danforth and mostly exists to provide exposition about Beekeepers and remind Derek how screwed he is.

Still, that doesn’t stop Westwyld from sending a currently-operating (and psychotic) Beekeeper to take Clay out, along with gobs of mercenaries. At this point, the film grows increasingly outlandish. Not only do plot turns and action sequences frequently require considerable suspension of disbelief, some of the colorful foes acquiring off against Clay would fit right in on WWE Smackdown. 

Grandma Jason's Homemade Preserves
Aside from a late plot twist revealing who wants Derek protected, The Beekeeper holds no real surprises. And because Clay is so quick, so deadly and so much smarter than everyone else on-screen, we’re never really all that concerned for his safety. 

But if done right, there’s comfort in knowing what you’re gonna get…kinda like always ordering the same thing from Starbucks. The Beekeeper is very well made, arguably David Ayer’s best film as a director. The violent action is well-executed, exhilarating and - considering the subjects of Clay’s wrath - even a little cathartic. What victim of cybercrime hasn’t fantasized about those bastards getting what they deserve?

Statham does his usual commendable job of being Jason Statham, refusing to let middle-age slow him down, while Hutcherson seems to have a good time making Derek a truly hateful antagonist. After Irons, Emma Raver-Lampman has the most thankless role, mostly arriving too late to do anything but react to Clay’s handiwork. Still, she’s likable, as is her droll sidekick, Agent Wiley (Bobby Naderi).

The Beekeeper wins no awards for originality, but tackles a familiar premise with confidence and skill. It’s a slick, fast-paced action film with no pretense of being anything else and comes to a satisfying conclusion. Leave your scrutiny at the door and have a good time.

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