David Ayer started his career as a filmmaker in such promising fashion, with gritty and spectacular efforts such as End of Watch and Fury seeing him gain a reputation as someone who won't shy away from telling a story, warts and all. The run of Suicide Squad and Bright, both awful films, after something as great as Fury nearly derailed his career entirely. Ayer is back though at the start of 2024 with a stripped back action film starring Jason Statham called The Beekeeper and yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds.

Mr. Clay (Jason Statham) is a former operative of a clandestine organization called "Beekeepers". After his friend and neighbor dies by suicide after falling for a phishing scam, Mr. Clay sets out to exact revenge against the company responsible.
After the aforementioned dismal run of Suicide Squad and Bright, with The Tax Collector thrown in for good measure, it's great to see David Ayer direct something with a bit of life injected into it. The Beekeeper knows exactly what kind of film it is and wears it like a badge of honour; slick, violent action combined with cheesy dialogue about bees and beekeepers. Honestly, either bee or beekeeper is said about five-hundred times throughout and it's as foolish as it sounds, yet Ayer directs the action with confidence and vigour that makes it so fun to watch.

Genuinely didn't expect the film to commit to the beekeeper bit as much as it did but I'm so glad they went with it. Some of the best action films have the most basic plots, something The Beekeeper has as Statham's Clay takes revenge against online scammers in such spectacular fashion. The character work is paper thin but the villains he goes after are so despicable you won't really even care.
Jason Statham seems to be going for having every occupation under the sun in his films but a beekeeper might be his most suited yet. This is paint-by-numbers stuff for Statham who hits, kicks and shoots his way to, in the words of the film's tagline, "Expose the corruption. Protect the hive". Josh Hutcherson plays a scummy scammer worryingly well while Jeremy Irons adds weight to making the mythology surrounding the beekeepers more believable.

January is off to a strong start with The Beekeeper, a film that will have you buzzing as Jason Statham takes revenge into his own hands. Quite excited to see if David Ayer can keep making films like this with his bad patch hopefully behind him now.

Verdict: ★★★½


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