I like action films. I also like Jason Statham. He had a tendency to give us films with explosive action that are thrill rides. “The Beekeeper” perfectly encapsulates Statham’s strengths, giving us a thrill packed film with mesmerizing action, an interesting plot premise and witty repartee along with a side helping of pointed commentary on how society treats our elderly.
“The Beekeeper” is an action thriller directed by David Ayer and written by Kurt Wimmer. In the film, Adam Clay (Jason Statham) is an ex-operative of a secret organization known as The Beekeepers. He’s retired, spending his time raising bees and helping his neighbor Eloise (Phylicia Rashad). Eloise, a retired teacher, dies by suicide after falling for a phishing scam. Her daughter, an FBI agent, Verona (Emmy Raver-Lampman) initially thinks Adam is responsible but soon finds out differently as he sets out to exact vengeance on the company responsible. Along with her partner, Matt Wiley (Bobby Naderi) she soon learns what Adam is doing and traces his steps to bring him to justice as he goes after Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson), the son of the president. Meanwhile, Derek’s handler, Wallace Westwyld (Jeremy Irons) futilely hires assassins to take out Adam before he gets to them. It soon becomes a race to see whether anyone will be able to prevent Adam Clay from killing both Derek and the president of the United States.
As stated, the best element of the film is the mesmerizing action. Statham goes full throttle in this movie, giving us a thrill ride as he takes out the kind of people, thieves of the elderly, that we’d all like to see punished. With helpings of hangings, explosions, and men cut in half, the fight scenes will keep you engaged and electrified. While the basic premise is plausible, the action does take what is plausible by one man, shred it and leave it on the ground. And yet, it is so much fun, you don’t mind the implausibility, especially if you’re a fan of Statham.
One of the elements that helps the film is the rapport between Emmy Raver-Lampman as Verona and Bobby Naderi who plays her partner Wiley. The pair of them crack jokes and her sarcastic rejoinders over the scammers getting their comeuppance is some of the best bits in the film. The interactions between Wallace Westwyld and Derek Danforth are equally humorous especially when Wallace explains just how badly Derek has messed up and how if the beekeeper wants you dead, you’ll be dead. While the humor is subtle at times, it does enhance the simple plot.
If you’ve watched Jason Statham in any of his films, you can see that he is playing the character that his fan group wants to see, a man with a moral code who wants to see justice done. That persona works for this film and he embraces the premise, protecting the hive perfectly. He plays the protector and it fits him well. Emmy Raver-Lampman is dynamic and charismatic as Verona. I love how she is shown as intelligent and figures out Clay’s motives. The banter between her and Bobby Naderi are what make this film so much fun. Jeremy Irons is witty and his performance is strong. Josh Hutcherson as Derek Danforth gives a brilliant performance as a spoiled rich boy who uses others. His character is completely believable. Phylicia Rashad was dynamic and heartbreaking.
As I said, the action scenes are not very plausible, especially Adam Clay’s survival in infiltrating a compound with the President in it. The secret service agents would likely be better trained than is demonstrated in the movie. I loved the idea of the beekeeper secret organization but it wasn’t developed very much at all. I would have liked to have seen more development of both the plot and the characters. In addition, as an action film it was fairly predictable.
If you like Jason Statham and action films, you will likely enjoy the movie. While I would have preferred more plot and character development, I did enjoy the premise, I found the movie full of mesmerizing action, and the witty humor enhanced the fun of the movie. Emmy Raver-Lampman is particularly charismatic and along with Phylicia Rashad, both women were the highlights of the film.
Rating: 3 out of 5 bees