Jason Statham rarely gets any kind of commendation from critics, and most of his work outside Fast & Furious has been labeled as “all fisticuffs and no substance.” However, the panning trend has changed after the release of The Beekeeper. The movie — which follows an operative-cum-beekeeper as he hunts down the people behind a major phishing scam — not only received positive reviews, but also dominated the box office. Director David Ayer is presumably thrilled, too, since this is his first movie to be rated “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes in over a decade.
The Beekeeper is strong in all areas and one thing that quickly stands out about it is the dialogue. Each character makes an effort to say something interesting instead of going with cliché action movie phrases. Even though a few lines come off as cheesy, they still fit perfectly, given the nature of the movie. Each mind-blowing action section sequence is followed (or preceded) by a philosophical or hilarious remark, or simply an utterance that serves as a reminder of how badass the protagonist is. Here are the 10 best quotes from The Beekeeper.
10 “Repeat after me… I will never steal from the weak and vulnerable again.” – Adam Clay
As soon as Clay gets the address for the scammers who siphoned $2 million from his landlady’s accounts, he grabs gasoline tanks and heads there. He easily bulldozes his way past the security, and once he is inside the building, he demands everyone’s attention before asking them all to make a vow to cease their criminal operations. As expected, everyone thinks it’s all a joke, so Clay torches the building.
Authority, Coupled with Leniency
In this scene from The Beekeeper, Clay bullies everyone around him, but still manages to be lenient. He doesn’t just go inside and kill everyone (something many would expect a grieving person with his skills to do). Instead, he offers everyone the chance of redemption. As surprising as this is, it’s a great development because it prevents the movie from being too predictable. In the end, he only ends up burning the United Data Group tower, sparing lives, but leaving the company with numerous losses.
9 “I detect some British Isles in your accent.” – Agent Parker
Soon after Clay’s landlady commits suicide after losing all her money, he gets to meet her daughter, Agent Parker. During their conversation, she realizes that even though he appears to have an American accent, it has traces of ‘Brit’ in it. She is curious about him because he was not only at the scene when law enforcement officers came, but he also claims to have been close to her mother. She thus asks where he is from, and he confirms that he is indeed British.
An Acknowledgment of Statham’s Roots
Statham happens to be one of the British actors who play American characters effortlessly, but he has never been able to fully hide his Derbyshire accent. Audiences can always tell that he is not American and by directly pointing it out, Agent Parker reveals what has been on everyone’s mind. The quote helps pave the way for the revelation of some background information about the character. After that, more is revealed about them, notably the fact that he is a retired member of the clandestine group known as The Beekeepers.
8 “Get a wrecking crew and go Goodfellas on him” — Derek
When the call center gets burned down by Clay, the branch manager, Garnett, calls his boss, Derek, to inform him about what just happened. Derek reacts the way most superiors would, demanding that Garnett fix the problem immediately. His idea of fixing the problem involves getting a crew of hitmen and hunting Clay down. This turns out to be a wrong move as Clay ends up obliterating them all.
A Fitting Pop Culture Reference
The Goodfellas reference is suitable in this conversation because the Martin Scorsese movie has plenty of scenes where “offenders” get killed. It’s all part of a common gangster movie trope, where anyone who wrongs the mob is dealt with by a bullet or other form of violence that will permanently stop them. Derek sees the operation as something close to the mob. After all, it counts as organized crime, given that the scammers operate using a corporate structure.
7 “For someone who elevated f***ing up into an art form, this might well be your Mona Lisa” – Wallace
At some point in The Beekeeper, Derek calls on former CIA director Wallace Westwyld for help. He is willing to assist, but not before airing his frustrations about the mess Derek has created. Wallace cannot help but wonder why the young man wasn’t more careful about the kind of people his company scammed, and why he has struggled to deal with the problem by himself. Angry, he comes up with an interesting way to describe the problem at hand.
A Spot-On Take
Wallace’s take on Derek’s current quagmire is spot-on because this is indeed his biggest mistake. Throughout the movie, Derek is portrayed as a spoiled and irresponsible person who never gets anything right. The only reason he has become a criminal mastermind is that he has had geniuses working for him. In the past, he has never had to face any serious consequences for his actions, but this time, the problem is too big, hence the Mona Lisa reference.
6 “Why are you calling me on the ‘never call this line’ line?” – Director Janet Harward
Adam Clayton soon becomes too big a menace to deal with, so the CIA director, Janet Harward, is called so that she can flex her authority and help deal with the problem. She quickly figures out that something is wrong because the call comes via the secret emergency line, meaning there is a monumental problem at hand. And because no one likes to deal with monumental problems, she openly expresses her frustrations.
The Conspiracy Runs Deep
Director Harward doesn’t get to be in The Beekeeper for long, and her presence is meant to show how deep the conspiracy runs. Ordinarily, a phishing scam ought to have nothing to do with the CIA director, but Harward has to play a part in solving the problem because the president’s son happens to be the person behind it. Additionally, the person causing havoc happens to be a member of a clandestine organization that is linked to the CIA.
5 “You really are a good-looking kid… but God never gives with both hands.” – President Danforth
During one of President Danforth’s conversations with her son, Derek, she looks at him and compliments him for being an attractive person. Surprisingly, she follows it up with a shady burn, acknowledging that he isn’t intelligent. In her view, God cannot give a single person everything. At this point, President Danforth isn’t even aware of how big a mess her son has got them into, but she knows enough about him to conclude that he cannot be counted on.
A Kind yet Brutal Assessment of the Film’s Villain
Derek sure is an okay-looking villain, so President Danforth’s compliment isn’t a ridiculous one. As a parent, she is bold and caring enough to tell the truth. She knows Derek has never been smart, but she doesn’t mind it, so long as he doesn’t do anything silly. Unfortunately, he ends up doing far worse than she expected.
Towards the end of The Beekeeper, she realizes that he used money from his phishing companies to fund her presidential campaign. This means she might have to resign. That’s something she proves willing to do, a decision that makes her as likable as some of the notable fan-favorite movie presidents.
4 “I’m a beekeeper… Sometimes I use fire to smoke out the hornets.” – Adam Clay
After Clay finds himself inside the call center, the boss demands to know who the hell he is. Gladly, he offers a summarized and philosophical explanation. Everyone in the room fails to understand what he is talking about, but when he begins pouring gasoline everywhere, the fear in their eyes starts to show. The reality then slowly sinks in: they messed with the wrong person, and now they will have to pay.
Hornets Versus Honey Bees
In the real world, hornets enjoy attacking bees, so that they can forage them. As a beekeeper, both literally and figuratively, Clay protects the bees he keeps, from hornets who want to steal from them, and now he is keen on protecting hardworking humans from scammers who want to take away everything they have sweated for. To him, both situations also have to be dealt with the same way. To chase away real hornets, he lights fires, and to stop the scammers, he burns their building.
3 “A jar of honey? Who are you? Winnie-the-Pooh?” – Agent Parker
While interrogating Clay early in The Beekeeper, Agent Parker demands to know what the beekeeper was doing inside her mother’s house. Because she never used to visit her mother frequently, she never knew that Clay was her tenant and that he would sometimes bring her honey. She suspects he might be a killer and when he explains exactly why he was found at the crime scene, she responds with a rather sarcastic remark.
Another Clever Pop Culture Reference
Agent Parker is perhaps too aloof to be one of cinema’s greatest women law enforcement officers, but she remains in fine conversational form throughout the movie. The Winnie-the-Pooh reference is yet another clever one from her because Clay is a friendly beekeeper. Created by author A. A. Milne and illustrator E. H. Shepard, Winnie-the-Pooh is widely known as the fictional anthropomorphic teddy bear, who gathers honey and helps others in solving their problems. It’s thus accurate to conclude that Clay is the human version of Winnie-the-Pooh.
2 “It seems we had a disgruntled customer.” – Mickey Garnett
Mickey Garnett is quick to call Derek when the call center he has been managing gets burned down by Clay. His way of describing the issue is interesting, to say the least. He labels Clay a “disgruntled customer,” yet none of the people the company deals with are customers. “Victim” is the right word. The conversation takes a funny turn because Derek initially believes it’s only a minor issue, only to be informed that an entire building has been burned down.
The Mind of a Scammer
Garnett’s quote highlights his amoral nature and the general evil mindset that criminals have. To him, no one ought to have a problem with what people like him do, including the victims themselves. That’s why he labels Clay a ‘disgruntled customer.’ Additionally, his attitude towards other people is so dismissive that he doesn’t even realize that Clay isn’t the person who got scammed. He is just someone willing to get vengeance on a victim’s behalf.
1 “One. Two. Three. There, I did it for you.” – Adam Clay
One of The Beekeeper‘s most memorable scenes comes in the first act, when Clay grabs jerrycans of gasoline and heads to the United Data Group offices. At the entrance, the security guards order him to leave because he is trespassing. When he proves reluctant, one of them issues the typical “I’m going to count to three,” line. Clay responds by sarcastically counting to three for them.
Looking Down on the Baddies
A common action movie trope involves the protagonist looking down on the baddies because they know they are more skilled than them. Anything the baddies say is dismissed with a chuckle or mockery before the hero delivers a beatdown. The same happens here, but Clay’s line is more interesting because it’s more original. One cannot help but wonder why the hundreds of action movie protagonists from the past have never thought of saying the same thing.
The Beekeeper is now playing in theaters, and available to rent on AppleTV.