4K Blu-ray Review: The Beekeeper

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story


Much like The Meg, as soon as I saw Jason Statham was in a movie called The Beekeeper I was on board. What’s the plot? Who cares. Just like when there’s a chance to see him punch a massive prehistoric shark, when there’s a chance to see him kick ass as a beekeeper? I’m in no matter what. Now, in this scenario it’s a little bit of a cheat, as Statham is actually Adam Clay, a former operative in an organization that trains “Beekeepers,” who are called upon to protect the “hive” (America, or whatever their mission may be) by any means necessary. They answer to no one once activated, and decide how to right the ship by how they see fit.

That said, Clay is also quite literally a beekeeper now that he’s retired, so it’s only a partial cheat. He rents a barn and bit of land to do his beekeeping from retired schoolteacher Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad) and she looks out for him in a matriarchal way that nobody ever has before. Sadly, shortly after we meet her Eloise falls victim to a phishing scam and loses everything she owns – and millions from a children’s charity she manages – she can’t handle the devastation and she takes her own life. Clay, who was invited to dinner by Eloise finds her body, but not before Eloise’s daughter, FBI Agent Verona Parker (Emmy Raver-Lampman) shows up and arrests him as the only potential suspect.

He’s quickly released, as there’s no gun residue on his hands and it’s deemed a suicide. Verona is still at her mother’s house when Clay is brought back (as his things are all in the barn) and the two kind of share a moment, as Verona says she wasn’t around enough and that’s on her, but now she’s stubborn and she’ll find who did this and make them pay. Clay has the same idea, though he doesn’t tell Verona and simply calls in a favour from his former organization to find those who scammed Eloise and begin his revenge tour.

This is what we, as viewers, signed up for, and it’s all awesome. We live in a time where phishing and phone scams – especially against the elderly and vulnerable – are running rampant, and it often feels like there’s no way to catch everyone doing it, and often the money and life savings are gone for good. It’s terrible, but making these people the villains against a one-man-wrecking crew with a grudge? It’s perfect. I’m buckled in. Take’m all down!

Is The Beekeeper ridiculous at times? Yes. Does that take away from anything? No. In fact, it probably helps a bit because the movie never takes itself too seriously, but also doesn’t go so far off the rails that it becomes satirical. It walks the line perfectly and it’s just an absolute blast to watch – at least, when it comes to Clay’s side of things.

The main thing I dislike about the movie is Verona and her partner, Agent Matt Wiley (Bobby Naderi). I understand the reasoning of putting the FBI into the mix, as they’re doing things to try and stop Clay while also delivering exposition so that the audience learns who Clay is, and just how much he can take on by himself. That said, that side of the story just isn’t handled well, as Verona seems to be on a mission to stop Clay from murdering all of those responsible for her mother’s death.

Why? Sure, I get the whole, “There’s a right way to do this,” and all, but is there? We all know the justice system is a mess, and that this phishing pyramid has so many layers to it that if they went through the proper channels not only would they likely never catch anyone, but if they did get anyone it’d just be the lackies of the lackies of the lackies. So if your mother died due to these people taking everything from her, and some mysterious stranger was taking it upon themselves to bring the entire operation down, wouldn’t you go, “Okay great! I’ll go work on another case,” instead of actively working against him? Especially when you said you were going to dedicate your life to bringing them down yourself?

It’s just a poorly handled part of the story that never fits, as Verona seems more intent on stopping Clay than anyone else in the entire movie. I feel like it would’ve just been better if Clay found Eloise, felt indebted to her, called in his favour and went on a rampage, which then got the FBI on his tail in the form of a random agent that has maybe been chasing this crew for a while and they were used to dump exposition for the audience. Forget Eloise having a daughter and just go this route, because as it stands Verona is the worst daughter ever and her being around is actually a knock against the story.

Honestly though, Verona aside, I love everything else about the movie, right down to the incredibly high amount of bee puns that are delivered in such abundance that they should be groan-worthy, but never are. Especially since the characters often say them in serious and subtle fashion that it becomes a game to catch them when they’re said. We’re talking Leo pointing at the TV meme every time you hear one kind of silliness that I’m here for.

The action is also vicious and violent! There isn’t one of these phishing scam guys you don’t want to see get punched in the face, as they’re played exactly how you’d picture them, and when they come face to face with Clay it’s always a good time for the viewer. Josh Hutcherson and Jeremy Irons are Clay’s main adversaries, with Hutcherson playing Derek Danforth, a spoiled kid who acts like he’s untouchable because former CIA Director Wallace Westwyld (Irons) is under his employ and is always there to bail him out. Hutcherson plays the part so smarmy that it’s perfect, and with how the world is today it’s so easy to get behind Clay and his mission of destruction, because who doesn’t want to see all these greedy corporations that act above the law while feeding off of the middle and lower class get theirs?

The Beekeeper is a highly recommended action flick that’s fast and fun, but could’ve been a bit faster by cutting out the unnecessary daughter who isn’t completely on board with avenging her mother’s death and instead wants to protect those who did it? At least that’s how it comes off. Maybe that’s just me though, as I always feel that way about those in movies and shows who are like, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it!” The protagonist often wants to do it the only way that’ll garner results, much like Clay does here, while the supporting characters who want to do things the right way would never actually get anything accomplished and often just get in the way.

Sorry, went off on a bit of a tangent there! Regardless, The Beekeeper is a must-watch for action fans, or for those who love seeing scummy people get what’s coming to them in over-the-top, kick-ass, Jason Statham fashion.

Overall Movie Score: 4/5

4K Blu-ray Video and Audio Review:

The video transfer looks fantastic, with the transitions from light to dark scenes looking all but flawless. There’s a natural lighting to everything, with fantastic details to the surroundings, clothing and sets. The call centers that Clay infiltrates are dark and have a neon glow often lit up only by computer screens, and a giant wall of TVs that showcase everyone they’ve scammed, or live-feed a scam in progress for everyone at the center to enjoy. There’s also a lot of things to break, and Clay breaks a lot of things. The action is cut together fast, but it isn’t jarring, and the blood spatter and body parts sent flying feels real. It’s just a great HDR10 visual presentation that delivers the goods for your home theater.

The Dolby Atmos audio side of things arrives with the same high-level quality, and will absolutely rock your room if you allow it. Even when you don’t there’s a solid amount of surround sound, explosions, yelling, gunfire and score that come at you from all angles, all while the dialogue comes out clean and clear from front and center. This is just an awesome action flick that’s loads of fun delivered with top tier visual and audio quality to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

Special Features:

Sadly there aren’t any special features on the 4K release. It would’ve been nice to at least get to hear from the cast and crew about making the film even in a fluff piece, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to bee.

Disclaimer: A review copy of this Blu-ray was sent to me to cover in honest and truthful fashion.

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents The Beekeeper. Directed by: David Ayer. Written by: Kurt Wimmer. Starring: Jason Statham, Josh Hutcherson, Jeremy Irons, Minnie Driver, Phylicia Rashad, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Bobby Naderi. Running time: 105 Minutes. Rating: 14A. Released on 4K Blu-ray: April 23, 2024.

Brendan Campbell was here when Inside Pulse Movies began, and he’ll be here when it finishes - in 2012, when a cataclysmic event wipes out the servers, as well as everyone else on the planet other than John Cusack and those close to him. Brendan’s the #1 supporter of Keanu Reeves, a huge fan of popcorn flicks and a firm believer that sheer entertainment can take a film a long way. He currently resides in Canada, where, for reasons stated above, he’s attempting to get closer to John Cusack.