Starring: Jason Statham, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Josh Hutcherson, Bobby Naderi, Minnie Driver, Phylicia Rashad, David Witts, and Jeremy Irons
Director: David Ayer
If you're coming to The Beekeeper looking for innovation, intricate storytelling, and Shakespearean dialogue, then obviously you'll bee highly disappointed. In fact, expectations are going to bee the main thing working against Beekeeper as it probably shouldn't have been a theatrical release. Beekeeper is filled with by-the-numbers action, a plethora of bee references, and Jason Statham doing his best Terminator impression. Something like that could have caught on as a streaming release, but when you're asking people to pay money, it's just not up to snuff. Although it gets credit for beeing self aware, Beekeeper just doesn’t justify a theatrical release… and that stings.
In the movie doldrums of January, The Beekeeper is exactly the cathartic revenge fantasy you want to watch: Jason Statham beating the shit out of assholes who need to die. It’s funny enough (intentional and otherwise) to add to the entertainment, and takes itself seriously enough to make you care. And that’s what these movies need - a semblance of care - in order to work. Then, all of the other ridiculousness falls right into its gleeful, violent place. Plus, the ensemble is excellent in picking just the right amount of schlock to elevate this to the best “Jason Statham” movie I’ve seen in years.
If you've ever seen a Jason Statham movie, you've seen The Beekeeper. It’s 100 minutes of Statham making one face as he encounters no real danger, which makes all the action tensionless, aside from one fight scene towards the end that has some weight. Also, for an R-rated movie, the violence is mostly bloodless. Mix in the nonsensical plot and really bad supporting performances, the only thing worthwhile about this movie is the comical amount of bee puns. I'm sure some will have more fun with this than I did, but I did not enjoy it at all.
As far as John Wick clones go, The Beekeeper could have been a lot worse. The world-building, character work, and dialogue are all pretty mediocre, but the action is just fun enough to keep the ship afloat. Sure, there’s a few too many jump-cuts, but the choreography is stellar and, as always, Jason Statham gives a great physical performance. It kept me entertained throughout the first half, but it somewhat lost me once it started taking itself too seriously. It won’t change your life, but if you’re looking for a competently made action flick, then The Beekeeper might just be up your alley.
There are really only three things wrong/unrealistic with David Ayer’s The Beekeeper: first is the terrible blue hat that doesn’t quite look right on Jason Statham’s head; second is the ability to turn off a fire alarm for an entire house with the push of a single button; and finally, the irresponsible wasting of farmer’s market quality honey that hurts one’s soul. Everything else was super realistic *smirk* and, given its intentions, top-notch. Statham’s teep kick continues to be on-point, and Bobby Naderi and Josh Hutcherson put up nice performances in this fun, John Wick-esque B-action film.
If you’re not prepared to enjoy hilariously bad dialogue, non-stop action, Jason Statham doing his best stoic Jason Statham performance, and an abundance of terrible bee puns, this is not the film for you. However, if you’re looking for a paint-by-numbers action flick with plenty of violence, vigilante justice, and a barely legible premise, The Beekeeper is really quite fun! Statham is undeniably engaging, and whilst some of the combat sequences become a little monotonous and the performances are unconvincing, it's a good bit of mindless entertainment.