Review: The Beekeeper

Title card for the new action movie featuring Jason Statham 'The Beekeeper.' (Courtesy of MGM Studios)

The Beekeeper, the latest Jason Statham vehicle full of gnarly goofiness doesn’t feel like a theatrical event. Despite the commitment to all-gas-no-breaks storytelling, the excessive explosions and effective violence, it feels less like a truly cinematic experience, and instead the kind of fun, quick and dumb action film you’d find in a direct-to-video (DTV) bargain bin or the action section of the pre-Netflix blockbuster era.

The film is at its best when either A) Jason Statham is punching people or B) Josh Hutcherson appears as the DMT-riddled, New-Age obsessed Elon Musk type. Interestingly enough, The Beekeeper plays a lot like Jawan, politically dumb but angry and satisfying enough to render the whole thing enjoyable enough to get a passing grade.

Related: Review: Jawan

What makes The Beekeeper satisfying, however, is mainly its choice of targets, after roughly 8 years of living next to a country steadily eating itself. It’s fun to watch a cocky cockney just beat the hell out of the FBI, CIA and secret service members. While the film’s anti-American bend doesn’t curve as far as I’d wish, it still is fun to watch government agents get their shit rocked.

Everything serves more or less as an excuse for people to get punched, shot, blown up or quipped at. Admittedly, the story ranges from mildly entertaining to completely unbearable depending on your patience for some of the worst-ever chemistry between a pair of FBI detectives. It’s not that the two detectives are unlikable, just that when compared to Josh Hutcherson’s insufferable antics, they’re less fun and their quippy conversations come across as unnatural and forced.

A lot of the writing is questionable, but it’s committed to its own stupidity, an atmosphere that suits Statham, not quite the “look how edgy I am”-ness of Crank nor the “look how silly I am”-ness of The Meg. However, it makes up for this in constant movement, stakes that seem to rise with every scene cut and everybody drops.

There’s an immense physicality to the violence in The Beekeeper, while it isn’t as intense as something like The Raid nor as violent as The Night Comes for Us, the way bodies crack, flop and thump around the screen is as funny as it is satisfying, bodies operate more like little G.I. Joe action figures toyed with by children more than anything adjacent to humans.

The Beekeeper is a solid time-waster with truly ludicrous amounts of upward momentum and stakes rising faster than Statham’s body count. Go check it out if you crave some entertaining punches without the near-constant winking at the audience many other modern action movies regard as a fetish (looking at you, Bullet Train), that said, keep in mind it’s closer to the DTV trash odysseys of Jesse Johnson and Scott Adkins than the epic scale and destructive beauty of John Wick 3. It’s fun, not great, but it’s a January release, what else should one expect?