David Ayer is one of the best directors working in Hollywood today. You can talk about the negative reception to Suicide Squad all day long, but it’s well-known that the studio took Ayer’s work and flipped it on its side. Go back and watch Fury to see what David Ayer can do when he’s given the freedom to work his magic. That’s exactly what happened with his latest film, The Beekeeper.
Fury didn’t get the awards attention that it deserved. While The Beekeeper won’t make up for that, at the very least it’s a good time at the movies. Let’s be clear, The Beekeeper is not an Oscar-worthy film. It’s Jason Statham in a Jason Statham role doing Jason Statham things. There’s explosions, gratuitous violence, ridiculous dialogue, and fun action sequences. What more do you need?
The film follows Adam Clay (Jason Statham), a retired beekeeper who helps out Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad), an elderly woman who is the only person who ever took care of Clay. Now, let’s define “beekeeper”. While Clay does in fact work with honey bees, this is actually in reference to the super secret organization that makes sure the system within the United States doesn’t get disrupted. As you might expect, beekeepers do not report to a higher authority, and can do whatever is needed in order to get the job done.
When Eloise commits suicide after being scammed out of all her money, Clay comes out of retirement to make things right. Along the way he gets tangled up with Eloise’s daughter, FBI agent Verona Parker (Emmy Raver-Lampman), as well as some over the top private security forces who have been hired to stop Clay at all costs.
The only issue with The Beekeeper is that the film takes itself too seriously. This is a film that should have leaned into the ridiculous premise and just ran with it. Instead, the ridiculous scenes still play out, but in deadly serious fashion. It still works, but had Ayer and writer Kurt Wimmer leaned into the silliness of Clay’s character, it could have elevated the film to cult status.
An ensemble cast filled with crazy characters doesn’t need to be taken seriously, but Ayer still brought his A-game to the table. The camera stays tight for many of the action sequences, as Ayer opted for a shaky cam take in order to keep the audience close to the action. This is balanced with more traditional shots in many other scenes that should have anyone prone to motion sickness appreciating the fact that the movie wasn’t entirely filmed without a tripod.
We all know January isn’t peak film season, but last year we had the gem that was Megan, and this year we have The Beekeeper. Both films were far more entertaining than they had any right to be. The question is whether or not The Beekeeper will have the same viral impact that Megan was awarded last year. If the film had leaned into the craziness, it’s likely it could’ve been a viral hit. As it stands, it’s still an entertaining two hours at the movies, but you won’t be going back for a rewatch anytime soon.
About The Beekeeper
Synopsis: 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”.
Director: David Ayer
Writer: Kurt Wimmer
Stars: Jason Statham, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Jeremy Irons, Bobby Naderi
Runtime: 1 Hour, 45 Minutes
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.