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Home > The Beekeeper (2024): A Review

The Beekeeper (2024): A Review

The Beekeeper (2024): A Review

A Throwback ‘90s Action Flick

In recent years, it’s begun to feel like Jason Statham has mirrored the careers of actors such as Gerald Butler and Liam Neeson. These actors have become synonymous with B-rated action movies resembling those made in the ‘80s and ‘90s. They usually have ridiculous plots but play them serious enough to be cheesy but fun. Rarely do action films from these actors become some of the best put to screen; however, audiences can typically rely on them to be entertaining. Statham once again returns to the action genre with The Beekeeper, directed by action filmmaker David Ayer.

Synopsis

The Beekeeper stars Statham as Adam Clay, a beekeeper living in a garage belonging to an older woman named Eloise Parker. When Parker becomes a victim of a phishing scam, resulting in the theft of more than $2 million, she resorts to taking her own life. Filled with rage, Clay begins to seek vengeance against those who have wronged him.

Derivative or Inspiration?

In the past decade, action movies have mainly been dominated by the John Wick series. Because of that, it’s easy to compare action films to John Wick and believe that the movies are derivatives of the series. While The Beekeeper doesn’t feel like a complete knock-off of John Wick, there’s enough overlap between the movies that leaves it feeling familiar. 

For example, while it isn’t explored heavily in the movie, the world of the Beekeepers, a mysterious organization that works outside of the law, feels very similar to the world of assassins established in John Wick. Perhaps if the Beekeeper operation was explored and fleshed out more, there could have been more nuance between the two films. However, the route the movie chose to explain Clay’s past and how he acquired his set of skills is too closely aligned with John Wick’s origins. 

Creating a New Hero

Unlike the John Wick films, the main protagonist suffers from not having much of a  personality to establish him as a great action hero. Statham has given great performances in previous action films, such as the Crank films, his work in the Fast and Furious series, and even The Transporter trilogy. He always brings the hardened, serious, stoic hero with a slight comedic personality to humanize the character. While Adam Clay has the stoicism to him, there isn’t much depth or character to make him interesting. While Statham does a fine job with the material he’s given, it’s hard to truly care about the protagonist outside of wanting to see him get brutal revenge on those who took advantage of a sweet old woman.

While the protagonist isn’t memorable, the villains elevate the source material. In particular, Josh Hutcherson as the main villain chews up the scenery and creates a fun, eccentric character, while also being one of the most unlikeable characters created. He’s a bratty, self-centered, egotistical young tech guru who’s shown to have no redeemable qualities. With how terrible of a human being he is shown to be, it makes it easier to root for Clay to seek revenge on him.

The Beekeeper (2024): A Review
Jason Statham and Jeremy Irons in “The Beekeeper” | Image: MGM Studios

Throwback to the ‘90s

Outside of the film’s many flaws with the storyline, characters, and dialogue, the movie is still able to satisfy those wanting a simple, straight-forward action flick. If any audience member goes in wanting a well-constructed plot with developed characters and top notch fighting choreography, this film will only frustrate them. However, the movie leans into the more cheesy and ridiculous plot where it seems to be trying to emulate the ‘90s era of action movies. From films such as True Lies, Face/Off, Demolition Man, and others, it utilizes the ridiculous world of the Beekeepers to make something purposefully over-the-top.

While all of the villains are one-note and hollow, they are designed to be pure evil. This leaves the film only being more satisfying when Clay begins picking them off one-by-one in ridiculous ways. There are a few stand-out action moments that are fun and entertaining, but on the whole, the majority are not memorable, as the quality suffers from being in focus to the “shaky-cam” syndrome The shakiness of the fight scenes isn’t as bad as some showcased in other action movies, but it is still a noticeable distraction, considering that Statham is known for doing his own stunts. 

B-Rated

To help emphasize the ridiculous factor of the movie, bee-related jokes or references are sprinkled throughout the movie. Clay is constantly referencing bees in context of explaining his motives. At the same time, characters find ways to make bee puns or jokes throughout the film. It’s enough to make them a noticeable takeaway, but it’s not enough to be considered overkill. The script finds the right balance to make these bee-related references a fun aspect of the dialogue without downplaying the rest of the film.

Outside of the bee-related jokes, the rest of the dialogue is questionable. There’s moments where the script seems to be very strong, while other moments the dialogue is awkward. Perhaps it’s possible the more cringey dialogue is meant to enhance the ‘90s nostalgic feel. Whether or not these weaker dialogue moments are intended to be this way, it comes off more as lazy dialogue than creative choices. 

While The Beekeeper likely won’t be on anyone’s best of the year lists, it’s able to deliver enough of what action movie junkies want. The villains are created to be some of the worst low-life humans ever, with Clay created to be a generic, unstoppable action hero. The plot is simple and straightforward, allowing the revenge aspect to be more satisfying and entertaining. Even though the dialogue, characterization, and fight choreography holds the movie back to a certain degree, the film is a fun and entertaining hour and 45 minute action flick. 

The Beekeeper is currently playing in theaters.

The Beekeeper (2024): A Review
Josh Hutcherson in “The Beekeeper” | Image: MGM Studios

The Beekeeper (2024) Official MGM Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Mason Kupiainen is a recent Butler University graduate with a degree in Creative Media and Entertainment. His work has been published in Butler Collegiate, The Mall, and Byte BSU. Along with written work, he has a videography portfolio with Indy Blue Video, Byte BSU, and Ball Bearings.
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Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.