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January 12, 2024 / VVS Films

Starring: Jason Statham, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Bobby Naderi, Josh Hutcherson, Jeremy Irons, Phylicia Rashad

Directed By: David Ayer

Adam Clay (Jason Statham) lives a quiet life as a beekeeper. Secretly, he is a retired operative from a mysterious off-the-books government agency known as "Beekeepers."

When his elderly landlady Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad) commits suicide in her home after being scammed, Clay vows revenge on the scammers — a bloody mission that takes him all the way to the top.

Written By Darren

Rating 3.5 out of 5

The Beekeeper embraces the simplicity and absurdity of its premise, that combined with no hold barred action sequences and a great performance for Jason Statham, makes for one wildly entertaining film.

Normally January is the month where low budget action films that studios have little faith in get released. For the most part, such action films are passable to say the least and truly atrocious at worst, but this year’s release is a true winner for the action genre. Director David Ayer has turned a simple premise into an exhilarating action spectacle that not only recognizes the ridiculousness of its premise, but fully embraces it to create an exciting and often hilarious watch. It’s only bolstered by Jason Statham’s leading performance, delivering what is easily his best solo action film in years as he goes as what can only be described as full Statham on anyone who crosses his path.

When you hear the line “protect the hive” appear constantly throughout The Beekeeper, you can’t help but shake your head at the absurdity of the film’s dialogue. But with the characters simultaneously sharing that reaction to the dialogue while also taking it seriously as they try to track down Statham’s Adam Clay as he embarks on his revenge fueled rampage, it creates a fun yet serious tone for the film. The story, while simple, has enough twists and turns to hold the audience’s attention in between action set pieces, all stemming from the elder abuse that the audience can emotionally get on board with Clay's revenge after watching that scene. At the same time, the film maintains a sense of mystery to the world as we are only given tidbits of information on the Beekeepers and their secret organization through the discoveries made by the FBI agents investigating the deaths that have occurred in the film. It’s effective as we know just enough to accept the events on screen, but the film is never bogged down by extensive exposition dumps or loses the sense of danger surrounding Statham’s character by over-explaining the situation.

As a director, Ayer understands exactly what the audience has come to the theatre to see in this film; the action set pieces. Ensuring they get what they bargained for and more, Ayer carefully constructs each set piece, growing them in scale and intensity as the story progresses. The fight choreography is stellar, embracing the intensity and rawness of Clay’s revenge upon those who wronged his friend, all captured on camera with ease by Gabriel Beristain’s cinematography with a sleekness. The musical score composed by Dave Sardy and Jared Michael Fry echoes the grueling nature of the fight sequences with a commanding soundscape that will set the audience on edge and leave them thrilled, while Statham’s performance during the action sequences is nothing less that mesmerizing as he single handedly and with little exertion removes all opponents in his path. Unlike many films which push the boundaries of reality in such sequences, Ayer ensures that each set piece feels grounded and realistic, removing the need for much CGI and instead allowing the stunt work to create the excitement of the film. The result is a relentless experience that delivers over the top action sequences that creates one great, gigantic explosive spectacle for the big screen that is every bit deserving of Statham’s talent as an action star. Needless to say, I would love to see Adam Clay go head to head with John Wick, as that is bound to be one unforgettable brawl.

Statham is one of the most recognizable stars in the industry, whether it be for solo films like The Transporter series, his role as Deckard Shaw in the Fast & Furious franchise, or even the fan favorite remake of The Italian Job. But without question his work in The Beekeeper is the best we have seen from him in a solo film in years. Within seconds of meeting Adam Clay on screen, Statham manifests a quiet yet intense demeanor that speaks volumes of his character’s past without him having to speak a word. His careful execution of the fight sequences only builds the deadly nature of his character, while at the same time Statham ensures that Clay’s morality and caring nature is never for a second lost in the blood bath. Statham does not need words, leaving the physicality and facial expressions of his performance fully informing the audience of his character’s intentions, with the dialogue only adding to the absurdity and delightful entertainment derived from this film.

There is no questioning that the camera loves Statham and that the film is largely focused on him, but The Beekeeper does have a strong supporting cast. With the flashiest and largest of the roles is Josh Hutcherson as Derek Danforth, the film’s villain. Hutcherson captures the wickedness and entitled monster that is Derek instantly, creating one of the most punchable characters in recent memory. While playing a cliche of the spoiled rich, drug addicted son of a wealthy family, Hutcherson is a total blast every second he is on screen ensuring that every scene he has will have you laughing at his character. Jeremy Irons, Phylicia Rashad, Emmy Raver-Lampan, Jemma Redgrave and Bobby Nader are each good in their supporting roles, and even Minnie Driver has a blink of you’ll miss her role that fully utilizes her talents as an actress. None of their characters are particularly interesting, but each of the cast members fully throws themselves into the characters, ensuring that the film is full of colourful and entertaining characters that keeps the excitement levels high throughout the film.

Following in the footsteps of last year’s Plane, another successful B grade January action flick with a big star in the lead role, The Beekeeper knows exactly what it is as a film and never for a second fails to give audiences exactly what it wants from it. Packed from wall to wall with brutal and exhilarating action sequences brought to life from strong direction from David Ayer, a pitch perfect lead performance from Jason Statham, and a self-aware script that embraces the absurdity of the film’s premise, The Beekeeper is a truly riveting action flick full of excitement and laughter that is impossible not to have fun with.

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