Bee here now

Jason Statham stars as the titular Beekeeper, a retired member of a top secret black op government agency.

When his neighbor (and landlord) commits suicide he seeks revenge on the phone scammers who swindled her out of all her money, including a $2-million retired teachers fund that she managed.

The Bekeeper has to be one of the lamest action flicks imaginable and yet the dumber it gets the better it gets.

The constant feeling that the audience is being set up for a franchise where Statham comes out of retirement again and again feels shoved down your throat.

After elderly widow Eloise (Phylicia Rashād) gets swindled and offs herself Statham tracks down the firm running the mountebank phone room. Statham promptly takes out the property security and proceeds to literally blow up a three story building.

Our apis loving friend soon finds a trail leading to the firm that controls similar operations throughout the U.S. The path leads up a chain that involves a former chief of the CIA and top secret software. It seems a prototype developed for national security is being used to track elderly citizens with large accounts.

About this time the female member of the couple at the filled-to-capacity promotional screening sitting next to me was periodically getting up and returning with a brewski from the Regal’s bar, specifically a Voodoo Ranger IPA 16-ouncer.

Just as I was about to write off the whole affair as a misguided violent programmer things started to get interesting. After all who doesn’t hate phone scams?

Josh Hutcherson runs the firm’s outlets from a central Boston location with Jeremy Irons as his chief of security. Hutcherson in lieu of actually acting goes through moods, everything from relaxing to the hum of singing bowls to ordering flunkies to eliminate cogs in the wheel of his malfeasance.

Around the one hour mark it’s revealed that Hutch, in addition to never being a threat to the acting style of Statham, is the son of the current distaff President.

It’s a win-win plot twist because no matter what political divide you straddle you will hate the President’s son as much as you hate those pesky phone peddlers. 

Not only does Statham have a moral responsibility to avenge his friend, he also single-handedly takes out F.B.I. and NSA SWAT teams, as well as Secret Service reserves.

Statham’s alma mater honors the responsibility of the bee and its relation to humanity. When the queen bee produces a mutant offspring it’s the duty of the hive to obliterate the bad seed.

If there’s a blind spot to David Ayer’s direction it’s the continuity of the fight sequences. Yes the camera is always in the right position but the fact that multiple agents could shoot Statham from many other angles in the time it takes him to punch one opponent never allows the action to actually overwhelm.

If anything trounces the lugubrious nature of the acting it would be the mediocrity of the accelerated action. Somehow Ayer manages to suggest that the real world contains the same elements as super hero movies. This is done by ratcheting a phone manager to a truck and driving it off a draw bridge making it appear that the doomed supervisor is flying. Similarly a confrontation at a gas station has the assassin looking like an alternative universe Harley Quinn.

When the film wrapped the couple next to me was getting up to leave but the guy had to wake up his wife who’d conked out on IPAs.

In other words I’ll be first in line for Beekeeper 2.


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