Film: The Beekeeper
Director: David Ayer
Cast: Jason Statham, Jeremy Irons, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Bobby Naderi, Josh Hutcherson, Minnie Driver, Enzo Cilenti, Dan Li, Phylicia Rashad and Jemma Redgrave
Director David Ayer’s latest film is an actioner with Jason Statham in an all-out action role. It’s not a spoofy-fun action film, it’s much more straight-out and serious. So, when Statham as Adam Clay, a beekeeper, starts spewing near- monosyllabic philosophies about “protecting the hive” or “smoking out the hornets” or “killing the queen”, it’s a far more literal target he is alluding to.
This film is designed as a straightforward violent revenge thriller with the action star taking down squads of government agents and thuggish mercenaries alike, while he is mostly unarmed. While the story doesn’t have much to say in terms of words, the motivation is quite clear and concise.
Kurt Wimmer’s literal screenplay has Statham playing a retired field operative from a top-secret national security force that even the higher-ups in government haven’t heard of. He is no longer a ‘force’ defined “Beekeeper”, he is a real literal one, an actual beekeeper, lovingly tending to hives and extracting honey on restored farmland owned by Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad). Eloise’s bank deposits, earned as an educator, are emptied when she unknowingly follows instructions after a pop-up alert warns her that her data may get lost if she doesn’t go in for an upgrade of her anti-virus software. Needless to say, United Data Group top-scumbag Garnett (David Witts) bilks the old lady out of her life savings, as well as a $2 million charity account she manages. She commits suicide.
An expressionless Adam walks in on her body and after a brief hitch that involves Eloise’s daughter reveals the depth of his attachment to the elderly lady. We are well-prepared to buy into his grief and subsequent desire for vengeance. Adam trades his beekeeper uniform for commando gear. His one-man army MMA campaign for vengeance takes on national stakes as he goes from city to city to wipe out the genesis of the phishing racket.
The subplot about Eloise’s FBI agent daughter Verona Parker (Emmy Raver-Lampman) and her partner Matt Wiley (Bobby Naderi) doing the buddy cop act, is there only to complicate matters for Adam Clay. They want to catch Adam and put him in jail even though he is the one doing all the hard work to avenge her mother’s unfortunate death. When Statham delivers a line like “I believe there’s good in the universe”, we believe in his goodness and you can’t help but cheer for Adam’s vigilantism.
Adam decides to go fishing for the Datacenter headquarters but first, he has to take care of Mickey and then the man behind Mickey’s nefarious dealings, playboy Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson). Derek is the spoilt, entitled son of the newly sworn-in President of USA and is protected by ex-CIA director Wallace Westwyld (Irons) and current CIA director Janet Harward (Driver). It’s a given that Adam proves all along that he is more than a match for a heavily armed government security team, the FBI agents and the goon squad headed by Lazarus (Taylor James).
Statham’s Adam Clay uses his limbs fluently to subdue his opponents while delivering a brief dialogue regarding his moral code of killing the real wrongdoers.
The most entertainment we get is from the fight between the former and current Beekeepers.
The script here has very little going for it. The casting is the film’s backbone and even the bad guys lend strength to this telling. The action is designed to tap into your secret fantasy about getting tough on white-collar criminals who prey on innocent people without fear of the law. That’s why it’s so satisfying to watch.