(director: David Ayer; screenwriter: Kurt Wimmer; cinematographer: Gabriel Beristain; editor: Geoffrey O’Brien; music: David Sardy, Jared Michael Fry; cast: Jason Statham (Adam Clay), Phylicia Rashad (Eloise Parker), Emmy Raver-Lampman (Verona Parker), Bobby Naderi (Agent Matt Wiley), Josh Hutcherson (Derek Danforth), Jeremy Irons (Wallace Westwyld), Minnie Driver (Director Janet Harward), David Witts (Mickey Garnett); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Bill Block, Chris Long, David Ayer, Kurt Wimmer; Miramax/Amazon; 2024-UK/USA)
“An enjoyable but nonsensical bee-film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The American filmmaker David Ayer (“Suicide Squad”/”Tax Collector”) directs an enjoyable but nonsensical bee-film that stars the popular Brit action-pic star Jason Statham.
It’s set in America but filmed in the UK, which means many of the actors are Brits living the American Dream.
Writer Kurt Wimmer turns in a preposterous script that hardly makes sense but has lots of energy and dumb bee puns to keep you hopping around as if actually stung. Its phishing story turns into one reaching as far as the WH.
Its apt title is derived by its plot operating similar to how bee colonies work— with a queen bee, worker bees, and a beekeeper to keep the hive in check.
Adam Clay (Jason Statham) is a quiet mystery man who leases from his retired teacher neighbor Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad) a barn, on an isolated farm, for his honey providing beehive and a place for him to sleep in. The elderly woman is victimized by online scammers, who get her account statements and steal her nest egg. As a result, she kills herself.
Clay, initially, is the prime hacker suspect of the vic’s daughter, Verona (Emmy Raver-Lampman), an unconvincing FBI agent. Even when it’s cleared-up that he had a business relationship with her mom, the daughter still doesn’t care for him but still teams with him to get justice for her mom.
When the FBI’s investigation gets bogged down in procedural technicalities and can’t go after the call center that stole everything from the vic, Clay steps in to get revenge on the bastards by going outside the system and using his experience as a former member of the powerful and clandestine group known as the “Beekeepers,” which is a covert government program.
Clay acts as a vengeful vigilante, whose sense of street justice has him using his own rules to violently take down the bad guys at the crooked data-mining call center, as he leans hard on the sleazy online group leader thief Mickey Garnett (David Witts), the well-connected techie owner twit, the obnoxious druggie Danforth (Josh Hutcherson), and the grimacing security chief, Westwyld (Jeremy Irons).
Clay has no problem dispatching this bunch of weakling bad guys, while talking macho smack to show his disdain for these scumbags.
REVIEWED ON 1/15/2024 GRADE: B