Courtesy of Daniel Smith

“The Beekeeper,” directed by David Ayer and produced by Jason Statham, weaves an elaborate path toward a dull thud of a climax, its few exciting moments of action bookended with bloated dialogue.  

Statham brings his signature machismo to the character of Adam Clay, the enigmatic “Beekeeper” who enacts vigilante violence against his enemies. Little is revealed about Adam, other than his passion for beekeeping and his care for his elderly landlord Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad). When Eloise is targeted by scammers over the phone – a room of tech bros captained by the smarmy Mickey Garnett(David Witts) — she loses all her money and takes her own life. Adam’s anger at her death prompts him to utilize the only revealed part of his elusive past: his association with the Beekeepers, a secretive agency Adam trained as a mercenary in and has since retired from.

Adam is initially under suspicion by the cops and then FBI – including Verona Parker (Emmy Raver-Lampman), Eloise’s FBI agent daughter who believes Clay is complicit in her mother’s death. But once released from their gaze, he targets the scammer call center and sets off to secure revenge for Eloise’s death, facing tiers of opponents that grow increasingly high-profile. 

Statham is characteristically flinty as Adam, declaring himself “protector of the hive” like an apicultural Robin Hood. His methods of violence are completely by hand and largely linked to beekeeping – he lights the call center building on fire and declares he had to “smoke them out” (in a moment that may elicit a few audience giggles). Bee puns abound throughout the film and add levity through the sincere delivery of ridiculous lines. With a gun to his head, Adam is asked by an opponent in the film “To be or not to be?” and responds “I choose … to be,” then throttling his assailant.

Ultimately, “The Beekeeper” provides little novelty outside of its references to bug management. Its flurried action scenes provide some satisfying shocks of adrenaline but it spreads itself much too thin with its various plotlines, with Adam battling the henchmen of villainous tech executive Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson) and ex-CIA director Wallace Westwyld (Jeremy Irons) and Verona tracking down Adam all the while.

The villains are giddily despicable, with Hutcherson and Irons delivering strong performances, but Verona’s plot is diluted by a buddy-cop schtick she enacts with her partner Matt Wiley (Bobby Naderi). Their exchanges are trite and unnecessarily comical, detracting from the grief Verona feels for her mother and ultimately deviating from the film’s core. More time could be dedicated to the Beekeeper organization itself as well to further context on their role and relationship with the government. Much of the film switches back and forth between different business executives and government affiliates as they attempt to pin down Adam. This intertwining of two major entities could be deeply engaging and reflective of present conflicts of interest the government engages in, but is instead just a slew of boring phone calls.

Justice at large in the film is executed through Adam. He’s hewn closely to the average American man – clad in a hoodie, flannel and snapback, which clash strangely with his British accent and prop up his moral vigilantism. A key reveal of governmental corruption in the film’s latter half intensifies his mission’s magnitude, but is offset by a moment of hope demonstrated by Verona, reinstilling audiences’ faith in law enforcement.

This ‘bad apples’ narrative holds back the film from any meaningful interrogation of societal inequity, depicting injustice as derived from singular individuals rather than ingrained in the system and preventing “The Beekeeper”  from living up to its full potential. Statham[ delivers lines championing the lower class as if he’s reading from a teleprompter, each of them vaguely echoing the other but none making a real statement. The lack of depth and complexity is unsurprising to witness from a major studio film, but mind-numbing nonetheless. This beekeeper has no buzz, unfortunately.


Rating: 4/10


Sindhu Ananthavel
Sindhu Ananthavel (she/they) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Ananthavel was the Deputy News Editor for the 2022-23 school year, the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2021-22 school year and an assistant news editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at