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‘The Beekeeper’ (4K UHD Blu-ray review)

Warner Bros.

When are people going to learn that if the ex-super badass is trying to live a quiet life, you should create a social graph around their quiet life and leave everyone ALONE!! If you don’t… well… reap the whirlwind.

“You have laws for these things until they fail, then you have me.”

If that line alone doesn’t make you want to see this movie, you’re made of stone.

Look, I loved watching Chuck Norris, Stallone, early Seagal, Arnold, Van Damme and the like. Is Statham on their level?

I think this firmly cements him in the action hero hall of fame. (If he wasn’t already there.) The first Transporter movie might have put him there all by itself.

This one has absolutely everything, including a phenomenal supporting cast. It has conspiracy, criminality, gratuitous violence, some minor violations of the laws of physics, and a sense of humor. If you’re looking for logic, you will only find it loosely tethered to the plot. This is totally fun and fine. There are minor homages to other action films throughout, including a sweet tribute to Die Hard.

Let’s take moment and acknowledge the cast. It’s wonderful. Josh Hutcherson plays the foil. It’s a little weird to see sweet, gentle hearted Peeta Mellark as the bad guy, but that passes pretty quickly. He’s less cartoonish than you’d expect considering the type of film, but it absolutely works.

Emmy Raver-Lampman plays the FBI agent that trails the carnage as Statham hacks his way up the criminal chain. The only thing I’ve seen her in previously is Umbrella Academy, but when that wraps up, I expect to see her in everything. She’s so natural and her delivery is so genuine she is going to be a major star. She’ll need the right role (this is definitely not it), but her acting talent is award level. She’ll rip our hearts out in something in a few years and win an Oscar and I’ll post this review everywhere talking about how I predicted it.

Jeremy Irons makes an appearance as an ex-CIA director. Phylicia Rashad plays the sweet neighbor to Statham who starts the roller coaster of revenge. It was nice to see her. I grew up watching The Cosby Show,  so it was like seeing a long lost aunt for a moment. She works quite a bit, but I haven’t seen her much. Minnie Driver shows up in a couple of scenes looking elegant. She also works with regularity, but I haven’t seen her in anything in quite a while and it was really nice when she showed up.

Statham is Statham. His stoic gravelly delivery hasn’t changed, well, ever. While Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels are the wonderful films that really started his career, it was The Transporter that elevated him to action star level. His martial arts prowess combined with his smolder and powerful screen presence are why he’s lasted as long as he has.

Kurt Wimmer can write. While I’ll never really forgive him for the atrocity that was the Point Break reboot, The Beekeeper script is solid, mostly believable and coherent.

David Ayer is an excellent director. The underrated Netflix original Bright was the closest thing I’ve seen to putting the role playing game Shadowrun on the screen and we have him to thank for it. I could probably write 5000 words that alone. If you look at his filmography you’ll understand the man knows how to tell a story and that’s all you can ask for in a director. The Beekeeper was a story worth telling and Ayer tells it well.

The production values are high and the editing works. I don’t think many people realize the technical challenges behind believable action sequences and the importance of the editing process in bringing the incredible fight choreography, stunts and effects to the audience in an easily consumable way. It’s an art within an art. Geoffrey O’Brien’s editorial body of work is brilliant and while The Beekeeper is a popcorn cruncher versus a cinematic masterpiece, it doesn’t diminish the excellent editing work he did here.

All in all this is just under two hours of fun. The plot is cliché, but like all clichés, they got that way for a reason. You sort of know what’s going to happen from the beginning, so you aren’t really surprised, but The Beekeeper never stops you from enjoying it along the way.

If you’re an action fan: 5 out of 5 stars
If you’re not: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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