Following the heartbreaking news that his director's cut of Suicide Squad is dead in the water, director David Ayer kicks off 2024, teaming up with action hero Jason Statham in The Beekeeper from MGM and Miramax. Kurt Wimmer pens the film's script, introducing us to the mysterious Adam Clay (Statham), who lives a peaceful life, renting a barn space from Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad).
When Eloise becomes a victim of a highly-detailed phishing scheme orchestrated by the toxic Derek Danforth (played by Josh Hutcherson), it sends Adam on a brutal campaign for revenge. Danforth doesn't know that Adam is a former operative of a powerful and clandestine organization called "Beekeepers" who play no games regarding achieving their goal. As the situation escalates to a national level and the number of casualties increases, Verona Parker (played by Emmy Raver-Lampman), an FBI agent and the daughter of Eloise, and Wallace Westwyld (played by Jeremy Irons), Danforth's protector who has his secrets, become entangled in the matter.
Jason Statham has been incredibly active in the past year, with The Beekeeper marking his fifth film. However, his last three films were the latest entries in their respective franchises, some of which didn't receive great reviews from fans and critics alike. Fortunately, the writer and director of The Beekeeper understood what fans wanted to see from Statham and used it to their advantage. Wimmer's script quickly sets up a reason for Statham to unleash his wrath on the villains, allowing the audience to sit back and enjoy the action-packed carnage. Kudos to Wimmer for getting back on track with this film and delivering his best-written film since 2010, Angelina Jolie's film Salt.
While crime-driven, sets in the City of Angels is David Ayer's go-to, when he breaks away from that genre as he did with Fury and Suicide Squad, and now this film, he validates that he isn't a one-trick pony. The Beekeeper's plot moves quickly, and Ayer keeps the action set pieces rolling along. Statham doesn't try to overdo the acting; he just taps into his action-hero bravado.
Jeremy Irons is thoroughly enjoying his role as the antagonist and delivers some excellent one-liners. Josh Hutcherson also gets to play a villain that suits his personality type. I was also impressed with the performance of theater actor Emmy Raver-Lampman in action scenes. I hope casting directors will take notice and offer her roles that showcase her physicality.
Running a brisk 105 minutes and delivering the action goods, The Beekeeper is worth checking for fans of its lead actor and the action genre.
Final Grade: B+
The Beekeeper is in theaters on January 11th.