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The Beekeeper Review

January 22, 2024 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
THE BEEKEEPER (2024) Image Credit: Amazon MGM Studios
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The Beekeeper Review  

Directed By: David Ayer
Written By: Kurt Wimmer
Runtime: 105 minutes
MPA Rating: Rated R for strong violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexual references, and drug use.

Jason Statham – Adam Clay
Emmy Raver-Lampman – Agent Verona Parker
Josh Hutcherson – Derek Danforth
Jeremy Irons – Wallace Westwyld
Bobby Naderi – Agent Matt Wiley
Phylicia Rashad – Eloise Parker
Jemma Redgrave – Madame President
Minnie Driver – Director Janet Harward
Taylor James – Lazarus
David Witts – Mickey Garnett

David Ayer directs the still impressively spry Jason Statham in a drossy action movie that’s so bad it borders on self-parody in The Beekeeper. With a wafer-thin plot, Statham’s Adam Clay portrays a retired government super-agent, Adam Clay, who swaths a bloody path of revenge when his elderly friend, Eloise Parker (Rashad), is driven to suicide after being scammed out of her savings by a slimy phishing artist, Mickey Garnett (Witts).

Believe it or not, FBI Agent Verona Parker (Raver-Lampman) somehow becomes the lead agent on the case a day after her mother’s death and shares her sorrows with Clay just hours later. No one seems to question why Verona can investigate a case involving her mother’s death concerning a man who seemingly worked under her mother. Not to mention, Verona Parker seems only mildly upset about her mother’s death.

It’s not long before Clay comes knocking at the door of Garnett’s office building, effortlessly dispatching security and setting fire to the whole mess, literally burning the operation to the ground. Clay’s activities set off the warning bells of billionaire tech-bro, Derek Danforth (Hutcherson), who covertly runs illicit phishing scams and robs innocent people of their life savings using government-designed data-mining software.

Adam Clay was once an operator of an elite, clandestine military unit called the Beekeepers. The Beekeepers act outside of government oversight, allowing them to operate in secret and independently if the “hive” of American society is in danger. That means Danforth has disturbed the hive, and he’s put a target on his back for Clay, and his former CIA director colleague, Wallace Westwyld (Irons), and it might not be possible for a more prestigious government connection to protect him from Clay’s righteous fury.

The Beekeeper is redeemed only by some moments of entertaining R-rated violence. Admittedly, the movie intermittently enters so-bad-it’s-good territory with copious scenes of cringe and laughter-inducing dialogue. Even Jason Statham’s stoic charisma can’t elevate idiotic metaphorical dialogue about “protecting the hive.” Even certain action scenes contain an amateurish stench. When Clay takes out a SWAT team to breach another building housing a group of scammers, FBI agents appear to be standing in the background looking absolutely clueless or ignoring what’s happening right in front of them.

Statham stars in a role derivative of almost all his cinematic appearances for the last 20+ years. Minnie Driver briefly appears in the movie as the CIA director, acting like she is waiting for her agent to call and tell her that the check clears. The only thing missing was the Fred Flintstone scrambling feet sound effect as the Academy Award nominee flees the rest of this cinematic trash.

Bobby Naderi has one of the film’s most fascinating performances in the film as Agent Verona Parker’s partner, the married father, Matt Wiley. Naderi looks absolutely listless and barely awake throughout the experience as if he’s battling a massive perpetual hangover. It appears Naderi read the script beforehand and knows exactly what kind of movie he’s in, opting to expend as little effort and energy as possible. Naderi’s disinterested performance at least provides some semblance of entertainment seeing an actor essentially sleepwalk his way through the movie.

The Beekeeper amounts to little more than a clone of superior, more recent action movie fare. And with the talent in front of and behind the camera, this should have been something more worthwhile. Instead, it’s a messy, laughably poor movie with none of the style, attitude, or competence of the genre’s greats.

The final score: review Very Bad
The 411
The Beekeeper is a laughably absurd, low-rent, hackneyed mess of a film. It only offers enjoyment with moments of unhinged violence and heaps of unintentional laughs. The movie is little more than a cheaper, lower-rent knockoff of more recent, superior action films with none of the style or competence. In days of yore, this film would have been relegated to a Walmart or Best Buy bargain bin. These days, it's the recommended pablum in a Netflix or Prime Video queue. The talented performers in the cast have no interest in gleefully chewing the scenery to make the experience more memorable. They are simply going through the motions to get an easy paycheck. The Beekeeper is only recommended for an experience that's so bad with hints of amusement.