David Ayer's newest action movie provides satisfying action sequences as smug bad guys believing themselves to be untouchable get their just desserts.
By CHIN JIAN WEI
The world can often be harsh. Bad things happen every day to good people and bad people don’t seem to suffer any comeuppance. What if there was someone who could right that injustice? In a bee hive, beekeepers are needed to maintain the health of the hive, to ensure that the queen, the drones, and the workers live harmoniously. Jason Statham stars as Adam Clay, the titular beekeeper, a member of an extralegal secret organisation dedicated to preserving society’s order when its institutions fail to do so. This is the premise of David Ayer’s newest action movie, The Beekeeper.
Clay is a retired beekeeper, very much a classic action movie hero. A man of few words with a mysterious past who lives a quiet life, his only real human connection is with Eloise Parker (played by Phylicia Rashad), an elderly lady whose garden he lives in. However, tragedy strikes when Parker falls victim to remorseless scammers who take all her savings. Now penniless, Parker takes her own life in grief. No one seems able to hold the scammers accountable; they are untouchable legally. No one except Adam Clay.
Clay embarks upon a one-man crusade of vengeance, burning down the offices where the scammers work and violently beating anyone who gets in his way. He does not stop there, following the money and ascending the food chain as he seeks the masterminds behind the syndicate. Caught in his bloody wake is the police detective Verona Parker (played by Emmy Raver-Lampman), the daughter of the late Eloise Parker, and her partner Wiley (played by Bobby Naderi). Both police officers are compelled by duty to capture Clay, a seemingly impossible feat given how Clay takes down increasingly elite killers sent to stop him. The corruption runs deep, and eventually, the trail leads Clay to people so untouchable even a beekeeper might find himself out of his depth.
This is a simple popcorn flick, one that brings to mind action movies like John Wick or The Equalizer, complete with a secretly deadly main protagonist living a simple life until a violent inciting incident where the bad guys completely underestimate our hero and subsequently pay the price for it. The Beekeeper is not the most original of films but it makes up for it in the sheer catharsis of seeing scumbags that benefit from the suffering of innocents finally get a taste of what it feels like to be on the receiving end.
Josh Hutcherson is entertaining, playing against type as Derek Danforth, the morally bankrupt manchild CEO suddenly confronted with a man he cannot buy or bully. Raver-Lampman’s Verona Parker is also a standout, snarky yet principled, torn between her duty as a police officer and her complex feelings on seeing Clay avenge her dead mother. Statham’s Adam Clay is a lot more one-note, but carries the movie adequately, bulldozing through all opposition through sheer skill and force of will.
However, moviegoers expecting a movie with stunning choreography like in John Wick or The Raid may be a bit disappointed. While Clay hands out beatings efficiently, The Beekeeper focuses more on the creative methods Clay employs to kill his foes or infiltrate enemy strongholds, often without firing a single shot. The filmography, music and writing are also pretty average, and as a result, The Beekeeper is unable to rise to the heights the John Wick movies achieve, despite the many similarities between the two works. That being said, Ayer’s newest movie is still an entertaining way to spend a weekend afternoon and is well worth the price of admission.
Catch The Beekeeper in cinemas near you!
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