A beehive consists of a very intricate social hierarchy, with every bee fulfilling a purpose that benefits the greater good of the hive. When a bee goes rogue, something must be done to protect the hive, a job that Jason Statham does very well as, The Beekeeper. Of course, we’re not just talking about bees here, and David Ayer’s action thriller follows the life of an ex-killing specialist and his quest to make things right in the world. The film is filled to the brim with over-the-top action sequences and shootouts, and it even has a decent setup that can make the audience’s blood boil. Questionable acting and a repetitive format make the movie drag as it plods along, but at times The Beekeeper also delivers an adrenaline-pumping spectacle.
Adam Clay (Jason Statham) is a retired Beekeeper, a member of a super-secret highly classified organization of specialist killers. In retirement, Clay continues to be a beekeeper in a more literal sense, when a lonely senior citizen, Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad), commissions him to keep bees on her property. One day, Eloise falls for a vishing scam, and her accounts are wiped of millions of dollars. Shocked and distraught, Eloise commits suicide, a gruesome sight found by Clay and her daughter Verona (Emmy Raver-Lampman). When Verona, an FBI agent, finds out why her mother killed herself, she vows to take down the criminal organization. Knowing how slow and unjust the legal process is, Clay decides to take things into his own hands and kill all the way to the top.
From the jump, The Beekeeper does well at making the audience angry and sympathetic. Watching a senior citizen get preyed upon and have her life savings wiped out is something that happens all too often. One will feel the same sense of revenge that drives Adam Clay, even after knowing these characters for only a few minutes. The mindless action is quite satisfying at first but quickly becomes stale as the road to the top takes a bit longer than it should, and Statham’s character is never really hampered by any weaknesses.
Outside of Statham’s monotone killing machine persona, the acting in The Beekeeper is forgettable. The banter among supplementary characters is usually inserted for comedic effect and is almost always eye-rolling. Many of the villains seem to be miscast, as Ayer really leans into the “crypto-bro” persona for the bad guys, which doesn’t seem to be a match for the unstoppable Beekeeper.
Moviegoers most likely know what they’ll be getting before watching The Beekeeper and will not be disappointed on that front. There is nothing groundbreaking here, as Ayer delivers a mindless action flick and an entertaining revenge-fueled romp through Massachusetts. Although the 105-minute run time starts to feel slow about halfway through, it’s worth sticking around until the end, if only to see if The Beekeeper can complete his mission.