When I first learned we were getting an action movie called The Beekeeper, I had to wonder if I had somehow willed it into existence. After all, I’ve been reviewing fictional Beekeepers as action heroes since this post in 2014, and I have been advocating for Beekeepers to be in such a role since the era of Pirates vs Ninjas debates on the Internet. This movie feels like the culmination of my teachings. Now, I have no interest in reviewing the quality of the movie (what kind of loser cares if movies are good or not?), but I have to know: how does protagonist Adam Clay rate as a Beekeeper?
Adam Clay, this name is just his current alias for the record, is a Beekeeper in more than one way. He does actually keep bees and cares for them and give honey as a present to his friends and all the stuff I consider basic Beekeeper stuff. This alone would rate him a 2/5.
But is he an action hero? Well, I should say so. Clay is retired from a secret extra-governmental organization that call themselves “Beekeepers”. They are given unlimited resources to train these incredible secret agents who act outside the bounds of the law, with the idea that they will do what is best to protect society’s weak and vulnerable (Ah, to live in an imaginary world where those with power want to protect the weak and vulnerable. Must be nice). As a former agent of this group, Clay is highly trained in combat, armed and unarmed, and is a resourceful strategist and talented tactician. He can create bombs and rig up traps with improvised items. At times he seems as much like a slasher killer taking out his targets as he does an action hero. Suffice it to say, the guy can fight. That’ll move him up to 3/5.
But, beyond the standard set of Action Hero skills that strain plausibility, he has no supernatural abilities. He can’t talk to bees or control them or any of that. One could make up for a lack of supernatural abilities by being really on-brand. If you dress up with a picture of a bee on your chest or wear exclusively yellow and black striped shirts, that impresses me. Clay doesn’t do that, but he does talk an awful lot about Beekeeping and protecting the hive and all that. So he doesn’t lose points, but doesn’t gain any.
But how about Beekeeper Rage? One thing I’ve noticed in doing these reviews is that a lot of Beekeepers lash out when they get angry and that usually costs them some points. How does Adam Clay do here? Well, when his friend’s life is ruined and his own hives are destroyed, Clay does indeed lash out. But, perhaps it is is training with the covert organization, he lashes out in the right direction. He intends to avenge his friend and protect other weak and vulnerable people by cleaning out the corruption in the hive that is our society. He attacks the right targets. Heck, any time he’s not working in self-defence he even gives his targets warning so they can flee and swear off doing evil. He intends to kill, but he’s not indiscriminate. Honestly, if everyone’s anger was so well controlled, we’d be better off. I say Clay loses no points for Beekeeper Rage and, in fact, it looks good for him:
Four Honeycomb out of Five. A high quality Beekeeper. Could a sequel come along and improve it? Well, I’m certainly willing to write one, Hollywood! Let’s have Adam Clay ride around in a helicopter designed to look like a giant bee! Let’s do this!
There are other “Beekeepers” in the movie, it’s worth noting. There’s a whole organization, right? We’re told that the organization decides to stay neutral in the conflict, with the exception of Clay’s direct replacement, who is described as a “lunatic” and he takes her out with relative ease. We’re never shown if she actually keeps bees at all (though she does have a book about beekeeping in her car and there are hive around her base). Are all members of the organization actually apiarists in addition to using the metaphor? Probably. Maybe. Who knows? Anyway, they’d surely, as a group, rank somewhere around Clay.