After watching The Beekeeper, critics have concluded that Jason Statham’s action thriller is “downright comical” rather than “torturous.”

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Jason Statham’s career has provided us with some of the best action movies of our day, including his roles in The Expendables and The Fast and Furious franchises. For his next offering, Statham has teamed up with director David Ayer for the new action-thriller The Beekeeper, which will see his character Adam Clay set out to get revenge on a phishing company responsible for his friend’s death. The buzzworthy thriller was first announced in 2021, and now it’s set to hit the big screen on January 12. Let’s see what critics are saying about it.

Alongside Jason Statham, The Beekeeper’s cast includes some big names, including Emmy Raver-Lampman, Josh Hutcherson, Jeremy Irons, Minnie Driver and Phylicia Rashad. So what do critics think? Let’s start with CinemaBlend’s review of The Beekeeper, which our own Eric Eisenberg rates 2.5 stars out of 5. He says there’s plenty of room in the cinematic landscape for stupid-but-fun movies with preposterous premises and silly dialogue, but bad choices hold this one back from reaching the “good bad” film it should be. He continues:

With the R-rating it sports, the door is wide open for foul language, gratuitous blood-letting, drug use and more. It all suggests a brutal ride for audiences to absorb with goofy grins. The good news is that The Beekeeper is exactly as stupid as it should be, but the bad news is that the fun is undercut by a heavy current of grimness that leaves a taste that’s hard to wash out of your mouth.

David Rooney of THR agrees with the above assessment, noting that The Beekeeper could have been a lot of fun with a director more willing to tap into the inherent humor of Clay’s almost superhuman bad-assery. Rooney writes:

If you were concerned there wouldn’t be enough unsubtle apiculture metaphors for meting out justice via hellacious ass-whooping in The Beekeeper, you can relax. Even if director David Ayer remains in his usual mode of glowering self-seriousness, whenever Jason Statham snarls about ‘protecting the hive’ or ‘smoking out the hornets’ or ‘killing the queen,’ you get an inkling of how much fun this violent revenge thriller might have been in more playful hands. Still, watching the bullet-headed action star take down squads of government agents and thuggish mercenaries alike, mostly while unarmed, is fun enough. Probably even more so in IMAX.

Mae Abdulbaki of ScreenRant rates it 3 stars out of 5, saying Jason Statham brings an unhinged quality to Clay that helps the critic to forgive the “extremely thin” story that would never work if it tried to take itself too seriously. Abdulbaki says:

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The Beekeeper is also quite absurd. This isn’t a knock against the film in the slightest; rather, it’s quite fun because it’s all so ridiculous. Clay waltzing up to a team of FBI agents like it’s no big deal while they look on blankly before recognizing he’s their target is downright comical. There’s no end to wildly entertaining moments like this, though it perhaps helps to watch it with an audience that’s up for the shenanigans like I was.

John Nugent of Empire calls The Beekeeper “absolute bee-movie trash,” saying not even Jason Statham can elevate the bad dialogue and sloppy action sequences. Nugent gives the movie 2 out of 5 stars, writing:

The script, and Ayer’s direction, seem desperate to want to be in on the joke. The sad truth is, with bee analogies more tortuous than the Stath’s killing methods, you’re far more likely to be laughing at it than with it. Almost entirely witless, it’s as if they’ve decided on the title first, and then had to retrofit a cheapo action movie around the theme of bees. So much just doesn’t make sense: why is the former director of the CIA talking about honey? Why is an FBI special agent discussing pollination methods?

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Cameron Frew of Dexerto rates it 3 out of 5 stars, saying The Beekeeper doesn’t skimp on the violence and eventually becomes a fairly watchable action flick, albeit a “shamelessly, giddily batshit bonkers” one. For instance, the critic says:

It’s almost as if The Beekeeper was a randomly generated title that necessitated a screenplay full of bordering-on-insufferable puns and one-liners (‘Who the f**k are you, Winnie the Pooh?’ and ‘You kicked the beehive… and now we have to reap the whirlwind’ stand out), plus a line that should stand the test of time as the worst of the year: ‘Dude, bees are interesting little sh*ts!’

It sounds like if you’re down for corny, pun-filled dialogue and action that doesn’t let reality stand in its way, this might be a good option — though a couple of critics warn that David Ayer’s film could have embraced those qualities in a more fun way. If you want to check out The Beekeeper, you can do so starting Friday, January 12, and be sure to also take a peek at our 2024 movie calendar to start planning your next trip to the theater.

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