Watch Of The Week: The Beekeeper

It looks like Jason Statham has found his John Wick. The tough-guy actor, whose facial hair, bald head, and general demeanour vary almost imperceptibly from movie to movie, plays an unstoppable killing machine in The Beekeeper. That’s par for the course. It’s the world that screenwriter Kurt Wimmer and director David Ayer build around him that makes The Beekeeper buzz and is likely to bring back Statham for more.

Statham is Adam Clay, a low-key beekeeper not bothering anyone, living out his days tending to his hive in a farmhouse he rented out from a kind retiree, Eloise (Phylicia Rashad). When she is the victim of a phishing scam at the hands of a cartoonishly oily crew of criminals — we’ll get to them in a minute — Adam goes on the warpath, and The Beekeeper is set in motion.

(Remember, Wick was a quiet guy who didn’t want any trouble from anyone until bad guys killed his dog.) The scammers are led by a scene-stealing David Witts, who plays Mickey Garnett, the slimy leader of a group of online
thieves, who is like a tech bro version of The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort. The moment Witts is on screen,
in an office that looks like a comic book version of a hacker warehouse, the tone is set: This is silly, broad- stroke stuff, not grounded in any way and not meant to be taken the least bit seriously, which allows it to spread its wings and fly.

Turns out Mickey answers to Derek Danforth, played by a smarmy Josh Hutcherson, who honestly can’t keep up with itts’ hammy obnoxiousness. (The two roles should have been swapped.) Derek, who has ties all the way to the top, doesn’t understand the danger he’s in now that there’s a beekeeper after him. A beekeeper? Seriously? But Wallace Westwyld (Jeremy Irons), who has been sworn to protect Derek even though he can barely stomach him, knows this beekeeper is not justa beekeeper but part of a triple secret task force of elite, off-the-books professionals
who work outside the system in order to keep the system safe. And if a beekeeper says he’s going to kill you, it’s best to start wrapping up any loose ends you may have dangling.

Like Wick, we havelayers of mythology, high levels of violence, and a script that feels like it’s been adopted from a graphic novel but hasn’t. The pieces are set in motion so that Statham can do his thing and take no prisoners against an escalating series of dudes in his way, including Taylor James, who plays a big-toothed assassin and looks like something out of a Street Fighter game.

The Beekeeper is slick, dumb fun: Not as stylish or tightly executed as John Wick, but it takes its time with characters — including a pair of FBI agents (Emmy Raver-Lampman and Bobby Naderi) — and sets itself up for a franchisable future. There’s plenty of honey here to go around.

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Boluwatife Adesina is a media writer and the helmer of the Downtown Review page. He’s probably in a cinema near you.

Bolu

About Author / Boluwatife Adesina

Boluwatife Adesina is a media writer and the helmer of the Downtown Review page. He’s probably in a cinema near you.

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