Now Streaming | The Beekeeper | 2024

Jason Statham stars as Clay in director David Ayer’s THE BEEKEEPER. An Amazon MGM Studios film Photo Credit: Daniel Smith © 2024 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

David Ayer's The Beekeeper often makes little sense. When it does, it's exceedingly stupid. Yet, that's almost part of the charm of this gleefully violent vigilante adventure that sends Jason Statham's titular beekeeper after a shadowy gang of phone scammers who prey on the elderly.

It's a thriller in the tradition of Death Wish, Man on Fire, and John Wick, sending a former top secret military operative into a relative hornet's nest of violence to enact bloody justice in the face of the law's inaction. Statham is essentially a blank slate here, and his history remains mostly a mystery, allowing him to be a vessel for the audience's anger towards these scammers who make their living bilking unsuspecting grandparents out of their life savings. Nevermind the fact that many of these scammers are actually a kind of modern-day slave being forced into their trade by even more shadowy organizations; The Beekeeper wants you to let Jason Statham take out your frustrations on some smug assholes who victimize the weakest among us. 

There's certainly something cathartic about it, but its fetishization of extreme violence and torture also feels uncomfortably fascistic. What saves it is its complete lack of an ideological point of view. Statham is the product of a classified CIA program gone rogue; his target is the privileged son (Josh Hutcherson) of the President of the United States, whose campaign was almost completely funded through her son's multi-billion dollar scam. He's also willing to kill anyone in his way in the most brutal fashion, be they scumbag scammers or FBI agents, and Ayer dispatches them all in increasingly imaginative ways.

Your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance for such wanton carnage, but for what it's worth, I found The Beekeeper to be mostly big dumb fun - a stylish revenge thriller with no thoughts in its head but giving the audience a roller coaster ride of violent retribution. It's no John Wick (or Atomic Blonde, for that matter), but it's a future basic cable staple that is as silly as it is satisfying.

GRADE - ★★★ (out of four)

THE BEEKEEPER | Directed by David Ayer | Stars Jason Statham, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Bobby Naderi, Josh Hutcherson, Jeremy Irons, Taylor James, Phylicia Rashād | Rated R for strong violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexual references and drug use | Now available to rent and own digitally, and streaming exclusively on MGM+.


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