Every so often my local cinema has a mystery screening. The tickets are half price but you don’t know what you are going to see. The only hint is that it hasn’t been released yet. My long suffering wife and I usually make an evening of it; we go out for a meal at one of our favourite restaurants and then toddle across to the cinema. It was also nice as this latest one was the day before the current Mrs Williams’ birthday. So off we went. Had a lovely three course dinner and then went to see whatever we were going to see. You really don’t get to know until you see the censor certificate!
So we were sat there and were making plans which films to go and see based on the trailers. Wicked Little Letters looks interesting as does The Holdovers and Argylle. But they are treats for a later date. The lights dimmed, the certificate comes up and it is, obviously, The Beekeeper. Now, it just so happens that I’d seen a trailer for The Beekeeper and knew it was going to be a typical Jason Statham action caper; lots of fights, mayhem, and uproar. What I wasn’t expecting was the number of people who walked out as soon as the title was revealed! I mean, I know you aren’t going to expect the same sort of performance from Mr Statham as you might from, for example, Ian McKellen.
Expose the Corruption
One guy a couple of rows in front, tripped as he was leaving and said that that would be more entertaining than any Jason Statham film. I’ll admit that I was a bit worried as to what my wife would think as I can just flick the appropriate brain switches and settle into mindless nonsense appreciation mode. I remember, many years ago, talking with a professor of English Literature about films he enjoyed. I expected titles like My Dinner With Andre, Babette’s Feast, or a Shakespeare adaptation. He actually said “anything with Arnold Schwarzenegger in”! His reasoning was that he spent his working life with serious performers and he wanted to relax with gurning, ridiculous, comedic, action that didn’t need any thought.
I did whisper to my wife that she needn’t expect any thespian treats from the evening. Jason Statham as Adam Clay a.k.a. The Beekeeper, was action Statham as opposed to the quasi-comedic character he played in Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, or The Italian Job. He never smiles, doesn’t say a lot, but can look after himself in a sticky situation. Pretty much the same as in The Transformer, The Mechanic, or The Expendables. You see Jason Statham’s name name on the poster, you know what you are going to get.
Protect the Hive
As it happened there were some good performances. Jeremy Irons, as the former head of the CIA Wallace Westwyld, Minnie Driver as the current director Janet Harward, and Jemma Redgrave as President Danforth were all giving their usual best. Tongues may have been firmly in cheek but there was no reduction in effort…except maybe for accents. There was a line when someone said they detected a hint of Britain about Adam Clay’s accent and the whole cinema burst out laughing. None of the four I’ve mentioned really made much effort to sound American. But, ultimately, you don’t go to a Jason Statham for a masterclass in dialects and accents!
OK, there are ludicrous aspects. Not least is the fact that the nickname of Beekeeper is given to these particular agents due to the actual task they do. But having them all go off and actually become beekeepers is more than a little ridiculous! But you can easily ignore that. The main story is that Adam’s friend and neighbour Eloise (Phylicia Rashad) commits suicide after being bankrupted by a group of phishing scammers. Adam sets out to destroy them all and, be honest, who hasn’t answered the phone to a scammer and wished we could set Jason Statham on them? Is it high art? No. Is it mindless, undemanding entertainment? Oh yes!
Movie Grade: B+
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!