The Beekeeper, USA 2024. Directed by David Ayer, written by Kurt Wimmer.
Metropolis Theater 1, Row 3 (J) Seat 9. Original version.
(This post also appears, in slightly different form, at my Instagram account betweendrafts.)
I had to travel to Cologne for the original version, with Deutsche Bahn deteriorating into its renowned unlimited clusterfuck even though the weather was still dry and fine last Tuesday. But it was worth it! The Beekeeper has the exact dose of gratuitously violent popcorn entertainment I’d been looking for.
Every character who deserved it met their grisly ends along the course of the movie, from the slimy sleazy neo-yuppie techbro scammers to the colorful level bosses reminiscent of early Punisher antagonists. Wimmer’s screenplay was appropriately bonkers with an abundance of vigorously overstretched beekeeping metaphors and dad-joke puns, and enough nutty twists to keep everything sufficiently implausible. The action and action choreography were delightful, and Ayer’s directing was as solid as Beristain’s cinematography.
For various reasons, I missed most action popcorn movies during the 2000s and 2010s, so I’d seen Statham only in two British productions (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Snatch) and in James Wong’s The One. He’s not a character actor, for sure, but for this movie genre he has the exact right presence to stoically bulldoze his way through buzzing swarms of baddies. And, more importantly, to impersonate our favorite American hero hallucination of an all-powerful supersecret superagent who’s an extrajudicial killing machine but also relatably homely and loyal and morally good, with the only apparent flaw that his dialect coach was a sentient mattress.
If you have something valuable to add or some interesting point to discuss, I’ll be looking forward to meeting you at Mastodon!