Reel Reviews | The Beekeeper

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

Jason Statham makes a vengeful campaign against cybercrime in his special way as former
government assassin Adam Clay better known as The Beekeeper.

Adam Clay has a simple life. He rents out a room in a barn from a retired schoolteacher, Eloise who
lovingly cares for him. In return, he tends her farm, particularly her beehives, and collects their
honey. When Eloise becomes a victim of a cyberattack and loses all of her savings. When Clay finds out
about the cyberattack, he finds the culprits and launches his attack to “protect the hive.” Clay’s
attack starts an all-out war with forces that would normally overwhelm a regular person. Unfortunately
for them, Clay is no ordinary man. Soon they realize that they are facing a fearless and legendary ex-

Written by Kurt Wimmer, The Beekeeper is an action thriller that stars Jason Statham as Adam Clay and
Phylicia Rashad as Eloise Parker. Joining Statham and Rashad in the cast are Emily Raver-Lampman, Josh
Hutcherson, Jeremy Irons, and Bobby Naderi. The Beekeeper is directed by David Ayer (End of Watch,

Coming on the heels of The Tax Collector, David Ayer enters into the super regular guy trope. John Wick,
The Equalizer, Taken. These films, just to name a few, all feature the “guy with special skills” who gets
wronged and then has to enact their special brand of justice upon all those who had the misfortune of
taking advantage of him. Adam Clay (the same number of letters as John Wick) is no different. He is an
amalgamation of Wick, Jason Bourne, Hitman 47, and the Transporter (another Statham franchise) into
this serious, unstoppable, butt-kicking machine. The funny thing about these movies is that when you
get your butt kicked, the bad guys never learn their lesson, turn tail and run home. They always have to
fire back, even against advice.

Reel Reviews with Tim Gordon

In this film, Beekeepers are a clandestine and elite group of human weapons who are tasked with using
their discretion to keep the order of the country in whatever way they see fit. They are given carte blanche to mete out justice wherever and however they see fit. Jeremy Irons’ character is a former head of the intelligence community who has “heard” of their existence. A group of ex-military men are assembled to take down Clay and Irons warns them of exactly who Clay is and the fact that he will kill each one of them. Does that give anyone of them pause? Not! So the audience can do nothing but cheer for Clay as he dispatches each one of them. Genius!

Nothing about this film is new. The trope has been played many, many times before. We have even
seen Statham play this role before. Yet despite the potential to be boring, Ayer and Wimmer create new
reasons to cheer for the good guy. Wimmer raises the stakes of the hero’s quest to a level that seems
almost ludicrous. Ayer gives a perfect cinematic eye that allows us to follow Clay in the quest as the
audience sees Clay negotiate his way around obstacles and eliminate targets. All the while, the hero
stays a hero and never kills the good guys who are also trying to stop him.

Chad Stahelski’s John Wick is a visual masterpiece (the first one). It has the support of a strong
mythology and a silky, smooth action style that carries the trope effectively. Ayer’s Beekeeper has a
weaker mythology but uses a brute-force action style to carry the trope. This is a perfect employment of
the special skills of Jason Statham who has a career chock full of this kind of action.

Rated R for strong violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexual references, and drug use, The
is an aggressively violent and super entertaining take on a trope that seems to never wear

The Beekeeper is in theaters on January 12.

Grade: B-