Latest in Jason Statham’s long running series of films as a one man fighting force is The Beekeeper. Yes, a beekeeper and that’s how we first encounter Statham as Adam Clay the beekeeper of the title tending to his hives and living in a barn having been taken under the wing of retired ‘educator’ Eloise (Phylicia Rashad). But when she’ falls prey to scam callers who persuade her into allowing you to remotely access your bank account where they clear them notably one for a charity that she runs. Now the natural reaction for most of us is to contact our bank, police etc in an effort to report the crime. Bur Eloise decides that the best course of action is to shoot herself in the head and it is her special agent daughter Verona (Emmy Raver-Lampman) who finds Clay who in turn has discovered Eloise in an armchair having blown her brains out in front of the TV….yes, daytime TV has a similar effect on most people.
It’s when Clay finds that she has been the victim of scammers that its revealed that he’s an ex-covert operative, code named the beekeeper of the title. And off we go on the usual roaring rampage of revenge with Statham going after the call centres systematically razing them to the ground as he works his way up the chain which involves Jeremy Irons and Josh Hutcherson as the big wigs behind it all and is all part of an even bigger scheme
Written by Kurt Wimmer whose previous was last year’s execrable ‘Expend4bles’, which should be a warning, that there are plot holes galore in this – CIA have been unable to trace the scam centre yet Clay manages to locate it with just one phone call to a former colleague, special agent Verona claims that they can’t find out who Clay is as there no photos, finger prints etc for him and yet earlier on he was arrested where they would have taken all of these. The scammers are a decent contemporary villain for modern times except as presented here they are as credible as Prince Andrew’s Epstein alibi. And rather than being based in a low rent back street room in New Delhi the scam centre here are glitzy and neon lit with all the class of Gemma Collins at an all you can eat buffet. Irons gets a clunky scene of exposition about the history of ‘beekeepers’, Verina’s special agent is unintentionally and hilariously over confident. And the cast is filled out with familiar Brit cast that includes Irons, Statham, Minnie Driver and Jemma Redgrave getting their chance to trial their American accent with widely varying ability.
The action is capably orchestrated by director David Ayer, no stranger to on screen carnage after Suicide Squad, Sabotage and Fury and there are some gleefully gory moments in this which is very much in the vein of The Equalizer and The Beekeeper is all about the action. There are several decent moments – a bonkers mad set piece with Clay facing off to a psychotic female assassin dressed like a giant Quality Street sweet and massive 6000 rounds per minute machine gun, a mohicaned South African hit man as determined to mangle Clay as he is his own South African accent plus a number of other throwaway moments (how one armed officer comes to his demise in a plummeting lift wouldn’t have been out of place in a horror). What is different here is that Clay’s hands are his weapons never having to rely on firearms.
The Beekeeper is undeniably daft but it is a lot of fun and an easy on the brain actioner to ease you into the new year
Related feature : The Expend4bles stunt teams….
Here’s The Beekeeper trailer……