A B-plus belter with bad dialogue

Film Review of The Beekeeper. Picture: ON FILE

The Beekeeper

Starring Jason Statham, Emmy Raver-Lampman and Josh Hutcherson

Rated MA15+


The Beekeeper is a good old bone-crunching action movie from director David Ayer.

After his neighbour has her life savings stolen in a phishing scam, Adam Clay (Jason Statham), a retired agent from an elite organisation known as Beekeepers, sets out to hunt down those responsible.

Statham delivers his reliable brand of gruff gravitas as Clay, and Emmy Raver-Lampman offers levity and pathos as FBI Agent Verona Parker, who has a tragic personal stake in Clay’s crusade. The film has strong forward momentum and often beautiful cinematography.

The action sequences are brutal, well-shot and creatively-staged, and The Beekeeper has a stylised tone reminiscent of John Wick, with its near-mythical deadly protagonist, an underground order of enforcers, absurd foes and the sense that the antagonists know they’re screwed once Clay comes after them. The action doesn’t carry much tension, as Clay demolishes his opponents with little effort, but there is a cathartic appeal in burly power fantasies like these, especially since Clay’s primary target, slimy scammer kingpin Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson), feels like a thinly-veiled allegory for real crypto fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried.

The Beekeeper’s one big flaw is its hokey screenplay. Some moments are intentionally funny, but the film is full of clunky lines and forced wit or depth, and writer Kurt Wimmer even fumbles his own hive metaphor. The film also has British actors Jeremy Irons and Jemma Redgrave perplexingly playing American characters, their solid performances marred by unconvincing accents.

A thoroughly entertaining, larger-than-life action movie that needs a better screenplay, The Beekeeper is playing in most Victorian cinemas.

– Seth Lukas Hynes