The Beekeeper

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 4/23/24;
Warner/MGM;
Action;
Box Office $ 66.22 million;
$17.99 DVD, $22.99 Blu-ray, $27.99 UHD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexual references and drug use.
Stars Jason Statham, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Josh Hutcherson, Bobby Naderi, Jemma Redgrave, Minnie Driver, Phylicia Rashad, Jeremy Irons.

Director David Ayer’s The Beekeeper borrows the “John Wick” formula to provide yet another excuse for a sullen, enigmatic Jason Statham action hero.

In a film driven by an obvious central metaphor, Statham plays Adam Clay, the lonesome beekeeper of the title, who tends to his honeybees in a barn he rents from the kindly Eloise Parker (Phylicia Rashad). In a matter of narrative expedience, within seconds of the film establishing both characters, Eloise is ripped off in a phishing scam that targets the elderly through a fake computer virus warning.

Too embarrassed by her feebleness, and despite having a daughter (Emmy Raver-Lampman) who’s an FBI agent, Eloise promptly shoots herself in the head.

When Agent Parker and Clay briefly connect over the outrage of what happened to her mother, she vows to bring the scammers to justice despite her department’s apparent lack of resources to trace the well-funded ring of thieves responsible. Clay has other ideas.

He turns out to be a retired former operative of yet another one of cinema’s favorite inventions — the super-secret underground agency that operates above the law. In this case, they’re a covert group called the Beekeepers, a branch of the U.S. government tasked with the vague mission of making society work by “protecting the hive.” Clay admired the metaphor so much he took up the actual hobby.

Aside from one pretty effective reveal, without which the plot’s logic might not hold up, the film isn’t very subtle with its storytelling, and to its credit doesn’t try to overcomplicate things. Clay pretty quickly traces the hacker scam to a douchey tech billionaire played by Josh Hutcherson, who has in his employ a former CIA director (Jeremy Irons) as head of security, who serves as both the primary source of exposition about the whole Beekeeper mythos and the top salesman to the audience of the idea that a rogue beekeeper can’t be stopped.

Clay has a brief encounter with an active beekeeper, the result of which suggests the organization is too over the top to remain hidden for long. Sure enough Clay’s personal war of vengeance on behalf of Eloise delivers countless avenues of information to Agent Parker, who is somehow allowed to remain on the case despite her personal connection to it.

The film’s charm lies almost entirely in the goofiness of its premise, which very obviously opens the door for sequel potential. As yet another potential Statham action franchise, The Beekeeper is mostly left to speak for itself, as there are no filmmaker testimonials or bonus materials of any kind included with the film on disc.

The Umbrella Academy: Season 2

STREAMING REVIEW:

Netflix;
Action;
Not rated.
Stars Ellen Page, Tom Hooper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Colm Feore, Justin H. Min, Ritu Arya, Yusuf Gatewood, Marin Ireland, Kate Walsh.

Season two of the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy,” which debuted July 31, is a binge-worthy, action-packed, emotional roller coaster, although it suffers from a few contrived plot points.

As the season begins, the time jump that left us on the edge of our seats at the end of season one goes awry and scatters the superhero siblings in time in and around Dallas over a three-year period starting in 1960. Some, having been stuck in the past for years, have built lives and moved on, certain they’re the only ones who have survived.

The villains this time around are a trio named “The Swedes” who are there to prevent Five from again changing the timeline as it seems the siblings brought the apocalypse back with them. “The Swedes” fulfill the same role as the iconic Hazel and Cha-Cha from season one, but they lack the same charm and comedy that made the original duo such a great part of the show. This new trio seems to have a greater history that unfortunately doesn’t get explored, leaving us with little attachment to their story.

While we may not get much in terms of backstory on “The Swedes,” season two isn’t lacking in expanded history for the members of the Umbrella Academy. We get to see more background behind the interpersonal connections of the different siblings, as well as how it affects their interactions now. The characters we already grew to love in the first season only become more fleshed out.

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However, the plot sometimes bogs down in order to present the emotional aspect of the show. Some episodes seem stretched to fill the season, as certain conflicts feel unnecessarily manufactured.

Still, despite a few weaknesses, season two is a satisfying continuation to season one of the comic book-based series, and it leaves us waiting in anticipation for the future of the Hargreeves siblings and the Umbrella Academy.

Season Two of “The Umbrella Academy” (Christos Kalohoridis/Neflix)