BY ELLIOT LINES JANUARY 10, 2024
David Ayer's directorial career, up to this point, hasn't been the most glamorous. Critically his most successful films are End of Watch (2012) and Fury (2014), both of which were enjoyed by critics and audiences, unfortunately his career took a big dent in the form of Suicide Squad (2016), the widely hated entry into the DC extended universe. Since then underwhelming films like Bright and The Tax Collector have not helped his cause in the directors chair. Ayer's latest outing comes with an action star that may elevate his vision. The Beekeeper is the latest addition to Jason Statham's action genre resume, it may not be his most riveting feature, but there is fun to be had within the chaos.
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 organization known as "Beekeepers".
The storyline is pretty simple. Adam Clay (Jason Statham) is living life peacefully with his hives of bees, using his neighbours barn for "work". When an online scammer steals all his neighbours life savings and she commits suicide, the previous life of Clay comes to light and he goes on a rampage across the country in revenge. That's basically it, not too much to it in all honesty and this may just be where The Beekeeper is at it's best. The action is what we're here for and Statham shows why he is placed in these roles so often. It's difficult to see another actor in a role like this, where his husky voice lends to the role of a man on a brutal mission so perfectly. The action comes at you thick and fast, and quite frankly is great fun to sit through. However, the stakes never feel high enough to unsettle you.
There is plenty of time spent on explaining what Adam Clay was in a previous life, making him almost feel invincible, which hurts the film a little, however fun it may be to see Statham kick a**. The Beekeeper tries to set up the potential foundations for a bigger picture, a little in the wake of John Wick and The Continental universe, but never really commits to the "Beekeeper" network, even if the word is mentioned countless number of times, we get it he was a "Beekeeper". The film also attempts to throw in a twist that people may not see coming, unfortunately I did, which takes me back to the stakes of the film, and if that twist was handled better maybe stakes would've felt a little higher.
The main focus here is Statham, but there was some recognisable faces in the cast. Emmy Raver-Lampman (The Umbrella Academy) plays Agent Verona Parker, a detective following the destruction of Clay and the daughter of the woman he is avenging. This led to a conflict of interest in the character which added a little depth to the character herself.
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) played Derek Danforth, a rich entrepreneur at the heart of the scammers, a complete douche-bag and a character that spends most of the time making stupid decisions or on his phone (maybe a comment to youth of today).
The Beekeeper wants to be taken seriously at times and it's trying to set-up more. But in the end it's Statham kicking butts for 100+ minutes, so why bother taking it all too serious, shut your brain off and go along for the ride and you may just have some fun with The Beekeeper.