Jason Statham kicked off 2024 with a literal bang as he appeased the appetites of action movie fanatics with “The Beekeeper”
Currently showing in cinemas worldwide, the action thriller flick sees a welcome return to the big screen for the British actor, who is affectionately known as “The Stath”.
Statham has dominated the action movie genre over the years, with roles in the “Transporter” movies, “The Italian Job”, “Crank”, “The Mechanic” as well as appearances in some of the “Fast & Furious” movies.
But his latest appearance in “The Beekeeper” comes following widespread criticism for his roles in recent projects including the “Expend4bles”, which was a notorious box office under-performer and went on to receive the most nominations at this year’s Razzie Awards, a parody award show which honours cinematic failures.
Statham’s other recent film, “Meg 2: The Trench” has also been nominated as one of the worst movies of 2023 at the award show, which is also known as the Golden Raspberry Awards.
But the renowned actor seems to somewhat redeem himself in “The Beekeeper”, which, since its January release, has reportedly grossed $104 million worldwide.
This makes it the first 2024 movie to cross the $100M mark at the worldwide box office.
Some film critics argue that the revenge thriller has had little to compete with as it has only gone up with the likes of “Mean Girls”, a woke reboot of the 2004 classic teen flick.
Despite this, movie buffs have arrived in their numbers to catch Statham in action on the big screen.
In “The Beekeeper”, he plays the role of Adam Clay, who lives a quiet life as a beekeeper.
But Clay proves that he hasn’t lost his “sting” when he is forced out of retirement as a retired operative from a mysterious off-the-books government agency known as “The Beekeeper”.
Taking on the role of Clay, Statham undertakes a violent revenge plot when an elderly friend dies by suicide after being scammed.
As a member of an elite clandestine organisation, Clay uses his expertise to enforce a unique brand of justice on a billionaire villain, whose company dupes pensioners out of their savings.
The victims include the former operative’s elderly friend who took his own life and was failed by conventional law enforcement after he became one of the scam’s victims.
The role of the corporate criminal is played by Josh Hutcherson from “Hunger Games” fame. This is somewhat new terrain for the US actor, who is accustomed to playing the “good guy”, but in this role, he is cast as a dark and dirty character.
Playing this character was somewhat of a personal mission for Hutcherson.
"Every cast and crew member had a story about someone in their life who had been taken advantage of by these kinds of scams," he recently told news publication Mashable.
“The Beekeeper” delivers the true Statham essence that fans have come to know and love. There is blood, guts, action stunts, as well as iconic one-liners.
Much of these centre around bees, which appear as one of the movie’s main themes, as Clay is not only a beekeeper - in the sense that he tends to hives and sells honey - but also as he returns to the secret government operative with the same name as he undertakes his revenge plot.
“Who the f@*k are you, Winnie-The-Pooh?”, “You've been a busy bee,” and “You kicked the beehive and now we have to reap the whirlwind,” are just some of the bee puns used throughout the movie.
Meanwhile, the initial success of “The Beekeeper” also comes as a welcomed reprieve for the movie’s director David Ayer, whose last widespread cinematic success was for 2016’s “Suicide Squad”, which saw a team of imprisoned super villains execute dangerous black-ops missions.
The Canadian film maker has also worked on the crime film, “The Tax Collector”, the renowned 2001 hit movie, “Training Day”, and World War II drama, “Fury.”
Apart from Statham, “The Beekeeper” also features other Hollywood heavyweights, as well as other relatively unknown stars.
They include Amber Sienna, who previously starred in “Let There Be Carnage” and “F9: The Fast Saga”, as well as Emmy Raver-Lampman from “The Umbrella Academy.”
They are joined by Bobby Naderi, Minnie Driver, Phylicia Rashad and Jeremy Irons.
While “The Beekeeper” might not go down as Statham’s most iconic roles, action movie fanatics as well as fans of the British actor, will welcome his return to the big screen.
∎ “The Beekeeper” is currently showing at cinemas nationwide.