Sometimes you just need a good old “Jason Statham kicks ass for an hour and a half” action movie. Because that’s exactly what The Beekeeper is. The new film from David Ayer promises big-time action and gives audiences an old-school action flick with a wild plot. So, the story here follows Adam Clay (Statham); who is a legitimate beekeeper for bees on the property of Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad). Except one day, a phony computer service calls up Eloise and scams her out of her entire life savings.

Enter Adam Clay’s former career, also as a Beekeeper. This time, the Beekeepers are things of legend among FBI types. They act outside of the normal rules of governance, and ensure that the hive (us) are protected. Along the way, the owner of the nefarious company, Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson), his protector Wallace Westwyld (Jeremy Irons), and Danforth’s mother, who is a government official (Jemma Redgrave), all get caught in the path of Clay’s quest for protection and vengeance.

The plot might sound fantastical when you include all the bee references, but once it’s explained, the only thing you’ll be marveling at is all the excellent bee puns that Statham spits out when he’s slaughtering bad guys. Joining Clay’s revenge tour across the East Coast of the US are Agent Verona Parker, Eloise’s daughter (Emmy Raver-Lampman), and Agent Matt Wiley (Bobby Naderi). They’re here to add to the intrigue of all the events with Mrs. Danforth’s political career and the FBI.

Shot Like Jason Voorhees, Feels Like Charles Bronson

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

It’s been a while since we’ve had an action flick that could easily feel like a horror movie with the right musical cues and editing. The Beekeeper makes Jason Statham feel like Jason Voorhees systematically decimating camp counselors. There are several shots in a scene where some of Danforth’s goons try to take out Statham, and he just appears behind them in the shadows, or he surprises them like he’s a slasher villain. it’s great to see it, after so long of action stars following the John Wick formula, return to this style.

That’s not to say that Jason Statham is invulnerable in the movie. For the first 3/4ths of the movie, he absolutely destroys everyone. It’s a sort of grade-school glee that I haven’t felt in a movie for a long time. You’re sitting there in the theater, grinning from ear to ear while Jason Statham is taking out scammers. David Ayer and screenwriter Kurt Wimmer picked the perfect people to get their just desserts. Not only are the scammers excellently acted to make you feel zero sympathy for them, but Josh Hutcherson goes against type here as the villain. He’s a whiny tech bro who would certainly answer, “Well, what DON’T I do!” to the question, “What do you do?”

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.

The surrounding cast mostly does a good job; there are some majorly over-the-top bad guys, including Taylor James as Lazarus, the only person in the criminal network that Jeremy Irons hires who has actually killed a Beekeeper before. Emmy Raver-Lampman and Bobby Naderi do a serviceable job as the two FBI agents, but anytime their B-plot would come up, it definitely brought the film to a screeching halt. Their scenes just aren’t punchy enough, and their involvement really feels like they’re only there for the “will they/won’t they arrest him” scene at the end of the movie.

The Beekeeper also continues David Ayer’s tradition of having sweeping, stunning, cinematography for what seems like a small action flick. Some of the shots and colors here are just a feast for your eyes. While others are a bit more muted, especially at the beginning of the film.

Basically, if you’re clamoring for the return of those 70s and 80s-style Charles Bronson-type movies, it really seems like Jason Statham is next in the line for that crown. The Beekeeper feels old school and classic, while also looking and sounding like a modern movie. It’s a fantastic action romp from David Ayer that’ll bring you so much joy from watching scammers get blown up, lit up, and screwed up. It sure feels like if we get more of these down the line, that there’s plenty more Beekeeper on Beekeeper action in store for us.

The Beekeeper releases in theaters on January 12th, 2024.

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