“To bee, or not to bee,” is a line of dialogue in The Beekeeper, a movie so delightfully stupid I couldn’t help but kind of love it.
As I write this I saw The Beekeeper five days ago and for the life of me I can’t stop thinking about its absurd plot. A plot so absurd that it kind of overshadows how cheap the movie looks. When I have told people the plot of this movie, I can hear my words coming out and I sound like a crazy person. Once I convince the listener that I am not making any of this up, the response, every time, has been, “I need to see The Beekeeper.” So I am going to do that now because if you thought you didn’t want to see The Beekeeper … well maybe you actually do want to see The Beekeeper?
In David Ayer’s The Beekeeper, Jason Statham plays Clay, also known as The Beekeeper. The Beekeeper is both an actual beekeeper and retired member of some unstoppable super secret government strike force that, according to this movie, makes SEAL Team Six look like “pussies.” The Beekeeper has just delivered some homemade honey from his beehive to his neighbor, Eloise (Phylicia Rashad), right before she falls for an internet phishing scam that not only wipes out her bank account, but the bank account of her employer. So distraught, she shoots herself in the head.
The Beekeeper finds the now-deceased Eloise and vows revenge on the internet scammers. But Eloise’s daughter, Verona (Emmy Raver-Lampman), also happens to be an FBI agent and at first blames The Beekeeper for her mother’s death. Once that’s sorted out, Verona is now tasked with both finding the internet scammers and making sure The Beekeeper doesn’t wage a war of destruction, but also deep down kind of wants him to wage a war of destruction.
So all of this happens in the first 20 minutes of the movie. I just kind of assumed the rest of the movie would be The Beekeeper using any means necessary to find the scammers, resulting in a climatic showdown. That is not what happens. The Beekeeper finds the scammers’ boiler room-type facility fairly quickly (The Beekeeper called in a favor) and burns it down. The Beekeeper literally walks into this office with two large gas cans and sets the place on fire. Apparently, the scammers have offices all over the country, run by a rich tech bro named Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson). Derek Danforth and his consigliere, Wallace Westwyld (played by Jeremy Irons, who I can only assume added a new wing to his estate for appearing in The Beekeeper), send their goons after The Beekeeper, which does not go well for the goons. Ending with The Beekeeper telling Derek over the phone that he is going to kill Derek. Derek relays this information to Wallace, mentioning in passing the whole Beekeeper thing, and Wallace gets a hilariously grim look on his face and says something to the effect of, “A beekeeper told you he’s going to kill you. Yeah, you’re dead. There’s nothing that can stop him.” To Wallace Westwyld’s point, nothing does seem to stop The Beekeeper. He’s more efficient than The Terminator. I don’t think there’s one moment in this movie where anyone thinks, “Oh no, The Beekeeper is in trouble now.” Nope, just nothing but success for The Beekeeper.
Okay, here’s the part that I love. The part that separates The Beekeeper from being a dumb January action movie to a hall-of-fame dumb January action movie that, again, I can’t help myself from loving. The whole scamming enterprise is a subsidiary of a larger corporation that Derek is now running. The reason Derek is running the company now is because his mother had to recently step down from the company to become the President of the United States. Yes. Yes! Yes! This is fantastic. You know what that means? This goes all the way to the top! So to get to Derek, The Beekeeper will have to make his way past United States Secret Service. There’s a line Wallace Westwyld delivers that delighted me so much where he explains that the Secret Service is no match for a Beekeeper. So in response to this Derek hires a gang of Scottish mercenaries. This movie, hot damn. It just does not care. I can’t help but respect all of this. Please create an honorary Oscar for The Beekeeper. Dame Judi Dench walks on stage, “And the Oscar for most chutzpah without caring even one time about its audience’s intelligence goes to … The Beekeeper.” Jason Statham then runs up with a big smile and says something like, “Always bee true to your convictions. Bee safe. Bee well. Woo!”
The Beekeeper, as you might expect, is filled with enough bee puns to last a lifetime. You will never need one again. Actually, you may never need to see or want to see a movie again period.
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