The Beekeeper

The Beekeeper
The Beekeeper
Home » The Beekeeper

Just like one of the boiler room scumbags from “The Wolf of Wall Street” bankrupted Jason Bourne’s mother, and that is more or less what happened in “The Beekeeper.” The main character of the flick, portrayed by Jason Statham is an ex-commando who has become a ghost-like figure that dispenses Old Testament wrath on tech bros stealing people blind over the internet with all their newfangled gadgets.

More or less Adam Clay (that’s Statham), MMA upgraded The Man with No Name Clint Eastwood style. All we know about him is that he lives out in the country where he raises bees and sells honey from them, and also that he’s played by Jason Statham. So he’s not your regular beekeeper. His best friend is a woman his senior named Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad), who lives in the farmhouse down from his and rents him space in her barn. She’s the only person who ever took care of him, according to Adam. Eloise falls for a phishing scam run by a data mining company that drains her bank account as well as the account of a nonprofit she helped found, with tragic results. Adam trades his beekeeper outfit for commando gear and disguises, then climbs up the criminal food chain — doing what needs to be done when the law won’t.

How exactly Eloise came to take care of Adam is never explained, nor does he spell out what exactly he means by saying she did so. It’s to this movie’s credit that it doesn’t get into such things any more than it lays out who Adam was before he became some kind of super-duper extra-secret commando who has never been fingerprinted and exists outside every known governmental structure but seems (to hear other characters talk about him) sort of an agent of self-regulation for society.

This here film comes from director David Ayer (“Suicide Squad,” “Fury”) and writer Kurt Wimmer (a veteran of the action-movie and thriller game, he wrote or co-wrote remakes of “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “Point Break” and “Total Recall”). It knows what to do with its leading man, who appears to have gained his muscles honestly and does everything from talking to martial arts to shooting people as simply as possible.

Statham is the sort of actor that makes you lean forward in your seat, and he has gotten better with age. This performance builds on his excellent work in Guy Ritchie’s recent “Wrath of Man,” which also asked him to figure out how to rivet an audience’s attention while playing a character who was more of an idea than a person. Statham’s matter-of-fact minimalism here in The Beekeeper makes it all the more powerful when Adam talks about how much Eloise meant to him, or ruminates on the organization of the beehive and ensuring a functional society. There aren’t too many action heroes who could deliver a line like “I believe there’s good in the universe” and not only make you think that their character believes it but that they believe it themselves.

Let me just take a minute to talk about the villains: Theirs is an impressive ensemble, especially in such numbers. Among them are David Witts as Garnett, who’s eloquently described by one critic as “a boiler room leader so slick he could make you believe that the sky was green and the sun was made of candy”; Josh Hutcherson as Derek Danforth, a coked-out vice president for the data-mining company who keeps calling Adam (and pretty much everyone else) “buddy” while puffing on cigarettes and wrangling with his dad, President of the United States Jemma Redgrave; Jeremy Irons as Derek’s boss Wallace Westwyld; — once again I must stop to say that it really is true: Wallace Westwyld used to head up the CIA! He looks like he wandered over from “Veep” with his exasperated-elder-statesman look. Or maybe Derek’s dad should be working for Selina Meyer? — anyway, Jeremy Irons plays this role and does it well enough that you can tell he had fun doing it. But my favorite performance among these bad guys has got to be Taylor James as Braineater Jones. Braineater is a mercenary whose specialty is killing people like Adam twice — or more times than that, if necessary.

The problem is not just moral but also physical because all these villains are disgusting individuals through and through. When we first meet him (about 12 minutes into the movie), Derek looks like oat milk marinated in itself for three days straight. And then there’s something about how Josh Hutcherson reads his lines in this preppie teenage snot voice even when he’s playing characters who are supposed to be in their fifties (which I assume based solely on his character’s position at work) that makes my skin crawl every time he opens his mouth. Speaking of which: While Braineater is denigrating Adam, he gets so worked up that spit flies out of his mouth in misty plumes. And Jeremy Irons? What can I say? The man knows how to dress himself for a role. He’s lit like a rotter king, which takes me back to all those ’90s black comedies and psychosexual thrillers and horror flicks.

“The Beekeeper” is not the righteous trash masterpiece it could have been. There’s definitely an amazing pop hit hiding somewhere inside this movie — probably one that focuses exclusively on Adam and the terrible people he goes after — but unfortunately, it’s just too scattered and annoyingly glib at certain points. For example: Eloise has a daughter who works as an FBI agent named Verona Parker (Emmy Raver-Lampman) with her partner Matt Wiley (Bobby Naderi). And for reasons that never become clear, they want to catch Adam and put him in jail even though Verona’s theory of his complicity is proven wrong within seconds of meeting him. She should be able to see more clearly than anyone else why Dr. Richard Kimble had no choice but to go on the run! Yes, they have good buddy-cop chemistry together; yes, their scenes are funny; yes, Bobby Naderi gives off major Glynn Turman vibes during all these exchanges. But even if you set aside everything else that happened in this movie — including what happens to Eloise herself — there’s still something unsatisfying about the way Verona is written.

In terms of its politics and philosophy, “The Beekeeper” ultimately wimps out in a way that many other vigilante action films do not: by trying to convince us that there are only a few bad apples out there doing bad things without their bosses’ knowledge or approval instead of admitting systemic corruption baked into our national character or human nature itself. Even the most socially critical genre films tend to lose their nerve on this point. They want you to believe that removing those few people from power will somehow magically restore everything back to its supposed natural state of nobility, when really what needs burning down are not just certain individuals but also whole institutions — metaphorically speaking, of course (though with Jason Statham involved … who knows?).

Even so, at its finest–which is when Statham is on the screen, shooting and maiming bad guys and lighting massive fires–“The Beekeeper” is a spiritual remake of Billy Jack or “Walking Tall.” It’s a daydream about what it would be like to brutalize and kill white-collar crooks who prey on innocent people without ever being held accountable. I was thinking about all the old folks in my life who’ve been ripped off by con artists, estate predators, swindlers that cops and court officers wouldn’t lift a pinkie to help them get justice against. And how great it would be if they could all jump in their cars, check their rear-view mirrors, and see Jason Statham sitting back there.

Watch free movies on Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top