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Movie Review: ‘The Beekeeper’ | Moviefone


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Jason Statham stars as Clay in director David Ayer's 'The Beekeeper.'

Jason Statham stars as Clay in director David Ayer’s ‘The Beekeeper.’ An Amazon MGM Studios film. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios. © 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Opening in theaters on January 12th, ‘The Beekeeper’ is the latest tough guy outing for Jason Statham, playing another variant on his former-intelligence-operative-called-back-into-action character that appears to make up half of his cinematic resume.

But does this new film, directed by David Ayer (‘Suicide Squad’, ‘Fury’) make for a worthwhile addition to that canon? The answer might depend on whether you have a tolerance for the most basic version of this movie.

Does ‘The Beekeeper’ bring the honey?

Jason Statham stars as Clay in director David Ayer's 'The Bekeeper,' an Amazon MGM Studios film.

Jason Statham stars as Clay in director David Ayer’s ‘The Bekeeper,’ an Amazon MGM Studios film. Photo Credit: Daniel Smith. © 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

‘The Beekeeper’ exists in one of those movie worlds where former intelligence operatives are all over the place and there is a massive conspiracy to be sorted out. And one where Statham grimaces his way through the emotional moments and lets loose during the set pieces. For the most part, though, ‘The Beekeeper’ is found wanting.

This stretches credibility so many times, your enjoyment level is likely to sink quickly as the movie uses the same tired action beats and flies towards an extremely predictable outcome. With this type of outing, you need a truly outstanding layer over the basic concept to make it work, and again, on that front ‘The Beekeeper’ lacks any real sting.

‘The Beekeeper’: Script and Direction

Director David Ayer and actor Jason Statham on the set of 'The Beekeeper,' an Amazon MGM Studios film.

(L to R) Director David Ayer and actor Jason Statham on the set of ‘The Beekeeper,’ an Amazon MGM Studios film. Photo Credit: Daniel Smith. © 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The script for this one comes from Kurt Wimmer, whose name is likely to give plenty of people pause. While there is plenty of love for some of his previous work –– ‘Equilibrium’, for example, even if it pushes far into ridiculous places as it goes along –– he’s been responsible for some truly dreadful scripts in the past, including ‘Ultraviolet’ and the remakes of ‘Point Break’ and ‘Total Recall’.

If you’re no fan of Wimmer’s work, ‘The Beekeeper’ is unlikely to move the needle into a positive zone since it features some utterly dumb dialogue and situations. Lines such as “if there was a back entrance, I’d have used it” are likely to make you laugh more than engage with the action.

And don’t get us started on the multiple, honestly exhausting uses of bee terminology. Every single character, it seems, says some version of “protect the hive” or “queen bee” and if you were to start a drinking game for each time someone says a bee-related word, you’d fall out of your chair completely out of your gourd by roughly 30 minutes in. Which might be the best way to experience this movie.

Emmy Raver-Lampman as Agent Verona Parker in director David Ayer's 'The Beekeeper,' an Amazon MGM Studios film.

Emmy Raver-Lampman as Agent Verona Parker in director David Ayer’s ‘The Beekeeper,’ an Amazon MGM Studios film. Photo Credit: Daniel Smith. © 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

As for Ayer, who has proved he knows how to make action movies in the past (there are plenty of people who still want to see his version of ‘Suicide Squad’ after the studio reportedly edited its own version), but here he’s strictly on autopilot.

The set pieces are perfectly adequate, but how many times can you watch Jason Statham act like a human bulldozer, ploughing through baddies who stand in his way. We don’t know if it’s in his contract that he must always look like a total badass, but here none of the people who stand in his way prove to be much of a threat until one near the end. It’s like watching someone play a video game on the easiest mode, which just becomes numbing after a while.

‘The Beekeeper’: Performances

Jason Statham as Clay and Jeremy Irons as Wallace Westwyld in director David Ayer's 'The Beekeeper,' an Amazon MGM Studios film.

(L to R) Jason Statham as Clay and Jeremy Irons as Wallace Westwyld in director David Ayer’s ‘The Beekeeper,’ an Amazon MGM Studios film. Photo Credit: Daniel Smith. © 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

We mentioned above about Statham’s character, and the actor plays him just like every other role of this sort. You could interchange him with the Transporter, ‘The Expendables’ Lee Christmas or Chev Chelios from ‘Crank’ (and even both ‘Crank’ movies had some gonzo action to make up for him). Here, he goes through the motions with all the charisma of a garden gnome, clearly uncomfortable in quieter character moments such as those with co-star Phylicia Rashad at the start. When it comes to the action, he’s always been competent, but just offers up his usual martial arts style, kicking and punching his way through swathes of villains and henchmen.

Even when we’re asked to believe that Statham; Adam Clay is an inventive badass, that only goes so far. Sure, the script gives him one or two cool moments, but they’re still few and far between. And don’t get us started on his standard accent, which is mostly British but does venture towards the States occasionally. The movie does at least nod to that, with the revelation that Clay was born there, but it makes it no less ridiculous.

Josh Hutcherson stars as Derek Danforth in director David Ayer's 'The Beekeeper,' An Amazon MGM Studios film.

Josh Hutcherson stars as Derek Danforth in director David Ayer’s ‘The Beekeeper,’ An Amazon MGM Studios film. Photo Credit: Daniel Smith. © 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Beyond Statham, there is a gaggle of British actors slapping on slightly fake American accents to play the baddies, including such respected thespians as Jeremy Irons and Jemma Redgrave who are clearly in it for a mortgage payment more than a satisfying acting gig. And pity poor Minnie Driver, who pops up for one scene that could have been given to anyone to play. Was she in the movie more before the editing stage? It’s a mystery.

Josh Hutcherson tries to make a stock spoiled rich guy role work, but he rarely makes an impact, while it’s left to Emmy Raver-Lampman, who understood assignment, to bring some life to her dedicated FBI character, who at least has a hint of character motivation.

‘The Beekeeper’: Final Thoughts

‘The Beekeeper’ is likely to be viewed in the “so bad it’s good” category, something to throw on if you and your friends want to have fun mocking it. But it falls short of the “it’s good part” too often to really be one we can recommend.

This is less a bee-movie, more a D-movie.

‘The Beekeeper’ receives 5.5 out of 10 stars.

“Expose the corruption. Protect the hive.”

76

R1 hr 45 minJan 12th, 2024

Showtimes & Tickets

In The Beekeeper, one man’s brutal campaign for vengeance takes on national stakes after he is revealed to be a former operative of a powerful and clandestine… Read the Plot

What is the plot of ‘The Beekeeper’?

Adam Clay (Jason Statham) is a former operative of a clandestine organization called “Beekeepers”. After his friend and neighbor (Phylicia Rashad) dies by suicide after falling for a phishing scam, Clay sets out to exact revenge against the company responsible.

Who is in the cast of ‘The Beekeeper’?

Jeremy Irons stars as Wallace Westwyld in director David Ayer's 'The Beekeeper,' an Amazon MGM Studios film.

Jeremy Irons stars as Wallace Westwyld in director David Ayer’s ‘The Beekeeper,’ an Amazon MGM Studios film. Photo Credit: Daniel Smith. © 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Other David Ayer Movies:

Buy Tickets: ‘The Beekeeper’ Movie Showtimes

Buy David Ayer Movies on Amazon

 

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