Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The Beekeeper

Oi! I keeps the Bees!

What's it about?

Tonight, I watched “The Beekeeper” (MGM/Miramax, 2024). Elderly Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad… Okay, the mom from “The Cosby Show.” There. Happy?) lives a quiet life isolated in her old farmhouse in rural Massachusetts, estranged from her daughter Verona (Emmy Raver-Lampman) after the death of her soldier son. Her only companion is Adam Clay (Jason Statham), a quiet man who rents space in her barn, tends the fields, and keeps bees on the property. This quiet life is interrupted when she receives a message on her computer telling her that a virus has been detected and her hard drive has been corrupted, along with a service number. Not knowing what to do, Eloise calls the number only to be taken in by a highly specialized group of scammers, who quickly get the trusting old lady to open her accounts for them, whereupon they steal everything, including two million dollars from a charity that she chairs. Upon discovering the theft and unable to cope with the loss, she ends her own life. When Clay discovers her body, he calls his former employers for a favor. His former employers turn out to be a highly secret government organization known as “The Beekeepers,” and their agents have no jurisdictional or legal limitations. Clay quickly tracks down the scammers, beginning a personal war that makes him the target of Verona and the FBI, private security forces, and maybe even the U.S. government itself.

The "Bee" team

Written by schlock-jockey movie extraordinaire Kurt Wimmer, who’s best known for his… let’s just say “questionable” remakes of classic movies (“Total Recall” remake, “Point Break” remake, “Children of the Corn” remake – you get the idea) and “Suicide Squad” director David Ayer (no, not “THE Suicide Squad,” the other, older, less good one) and filmed in the UK in 2022, it was released to theaters back in January of 2024 and went on to make a pretty tidy profit despite its limited budget.

While watching this movie, I had to wonder of Wimmer or someone close to him had been scammed by one of these detestable companies at some point, because they are basically shown as remorseless thieves and killers in their own right, while also being tied to a Q-Anon style conspiracy with the United States Government (represented by Jeremy Irons as former CIA director Wallace Westwyld, using an interesting accent) benefitting from the scam. Add to that the corrupt presidential administration shown in the film, and you begin to see the wheels of conspiracy nuts turning in the background of this movie.

A solid "Bee" movie

Is the acting good? Not really. Is the plot complex? No, not at all. The sets and locations are unusually bland. The bad guys are one-note villains for the most part, portrayed as irretrievably evil or at the very least greedy toadies. There’s not subtilty, no nuance, no grand scheme. With all this said, you’d think that I didn’t like this movie, but…

"Bee" ready, "honey!"

Look, this film isn’t going to win any Oscars. If you’ve ever seen a Jason Statham movie (outside of something directed by Guy Ritchie) then you know EXACTLY what this movie is going to be, and that is extremely action-packed incredibly dumb fun. Once the action starts going, you have Statham flexing his muscles as an unstoppable killing machine, but the movie leans into it in ways you wouldn’t expect, and it is tremendous fun for that alone. “Adam Clay” really isn’t a character at all: He does what he says he’s going to do with no pretense, and in the rare occasions he’s trying to be subtle and stealthy it’s strictly so that his quarry doesn’t run when they see him. I cannot state how much of a relief it is to see action played at a fast clip with absolutely NO slow-motion sequences to speak of (this is NOT a Zack Snyder movie, thank goodness).

Where can you find it?

If you’re a fan of cheesy movies, action movies, and just having a well-executed if extremely dumb time, check this movie out. It’s currently available for purchase on DVD/Blu-Ray and for rental or purchase on all major streaming sites.