REVIEW: The Beekeeper (2024)

I’m not going to pretend The Beekeeper is a great movie, because it isn’t. It’s got less character work than your standard Allstate commercial, the acting – outside of a couple of performances – is just below mediocre, the narrative is thin as a shoestring, and the admittedly interesting themes aren’t explored nearly as much as they could be. But it’s a lot of fun, a revenge movie that actually delivers, with Jason Statham as the ultimate vehicle through which our deliciously violent baser impulses are enacted.

Adam Clay (Jason Statham) is a beekeeper living a quiet life in rural Massachusetts, tending to his beehives on property owned by kindly retired schoolteacher Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad). When she clicks on one of those internet pop-ups that warn you of a virus on your computer, Eloise finds herself wiped out financially, along with the charity she manages. When she takes her own life in despair, Clay seeks revenge against the internet crooks who prey on the innocent, who soon learn that “beekeeper” means more than they think.

The first ten or fifteen minutes of The Beekeeper illustrate everything wrong with it. The character work is rushed to the point of near-nonexistence. Clay’s friendship with Eloise isn’t demonstrated so much as it’s dictated to us in one line of dialogue from each character. I understand that the film wants to get to the action, and there’s a part of me that very much appreciates that (it’s the part of me that has to struggle to type “Statham” without caps lock and some exclamation points), but in a revenge movie, we need to feel the pain of the hero.  Just a few extra scenes between the two of them would’ve helped, but a good chunk of the opening devoted to Clay and Eloise would’ve been perfect. Show how they met; show how they grew close and became friends; show how isolated Clay was before Eloise became the companion he never had; have Eloise tell him about her daughter so it means more when Clay finally meets her. The payoff rocks, but the setup leaves much to be desired.

The same is true of much of the acting. The Beekeeper has a supporting cast of bland characters played by actors who feel like they were plucked from a community theater stable. Emmy Raver-Lampman plays Eloise’s daughter, Verona, an FBI agent who, wouldn’t you know it, is assigned to the case when Clay starts going after the fishing scam. This is the “You can’t take the law into your own hands” character, and again, it’s a missed opportunity because having that role be filled by the victim’s daughter presents a good chance to explore the moral complexities of revenge. This is someone who lost her mother to the people she’s supposed to protect, who is bound by the law to dishonor the woman most important to her. But it barely gets brought up and only becomes a plot point at the very end. It doesn’t help that Raver-Lampman can’t deliver a line like any human being you’ve ever met, constantly exaggerating every syllable. The guys who play the internet thieves aren’t much better, with Josh Hutcherson of Five Nights at Freddy’s popping up to be dull and grating once again.

The Beekeeper, Jason Statham

But enough whining; let’s accentuate the positive, and that starts with Jason Statham. You know who he is at this point, and The Beekeeper doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with Statham, which is wise. Lack of characterization aside, this movie presents him as an unstoppable force of nature, going through this wicked organization like a wrecking ball as he pursues justice. More time is spent explaining what these fishing scams are and how they operate than is devoted to the characters, and the upside to that is the anger it stokes in you as you see old folks swindled while these monsters laugh behind their computer screens. It’s gratifying to watch Jason Statham pay them back, and his trademark grimace and brutal martial arts are exactly the kind of hell you want visited on scum like this. The other standout is, unsurprisingly, Jeremy Irons, who plays one of the main villains. His motivations are only touched on as well, but that works to the film’s advantage in his case, and Irons – who can play this part in his sleep – gives Wallace Westwyld (where the hell did they come up with that name?) some humanity. He’s at turns annoyed by the fumbling of the idiots around him, disinterested in the ramifications of his actions, but also dedicated to his job for personal reasons, which Irons makes you believe in the space of a phone call.

Of course, the centerpiece of The Beekeeper is the action, and it doesn’t disappoint. This is why, despite its shortcomings, I still had a lot of fun with the film; we go to see a Jason Statham movie for a satisfying dose of violence. There are plenty of fight scenes for Statham to show off his skills, lots of explosions that hit like warnings of the fists and feet to follow, and some shootouts, stabbings, and the like interspersed. These are all filmed in David Ayer’s gritty style, and the hits feel hard and weighty, like there’s actual damage being dealt rather than cartoon characters bopping each other around. Some of the action scenes throw Statham a curveball because law enforcement is after him as well (it turns out you can’t go around blowing up buildings without attracting attention), so he’s got to differentiate between the real bad guys and the cops or feds just doing their jobs. That means switching between lethal force and simply taking out an obstacle. But the film doesn’t harp on that; it’s just presented, another instance where “less is more” is used well.

The Beekeeper, Jason Statham

If that sounds like a good time to you, then you should definitely check out The Beekeeper this weekend.  You pretty much know what this movie is and whether it’s for you. And while I do wish it built a stronger narrative by fleshing out the characters and constructing a better setup, I had fun with The Beekeeper and certainly liked it better than Statham’s last few outings.

The Beekeeper (2024)

Plot - 6
Acting - 6
Directing/Editing - 7
Music/Sound - 7
Action - 8



The Beekeeper suffers from a lack of character work, a flimsy setup, and some bad supporting actors, but the action is fun, and the revenge plot is satisfying.

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