Tag Archives: Kurt Wimmer

Honey Don’t

The Beekeeper

by George Wolf

About two-thirds of the way through The Beekeeper, director David Ayer and star Jason Statham hit us with the film’s highlight. It’s an elevator sequence that takes an unexpectedly gory turn, then adds a clever surprise for the finishing touch.

If only the rest of the film could be this interesting.

Statham is playing his usual one man killing machine, this time named Adam Clay. He’s living a quiet and reclusive life as a beekeeper in rural Massachsetts, until a cybercrime firm scams Clay’s only friend (Phylicia Rashad) so badly she kills herself.

Clay takes very explosive, very lethal revenge.

But the phishing firm’s CEO Derek Danforth (Josh Hutcherson in hipster douchebag mode) has friends is high places, including a former CIA director (Jeremy Irons, classing up the joint). Danforth wants Clay taken out, but he soon learns that will not be so easy.

See, Clay is more than a beekeeper, he’s a former beekeeper, an elite group of enforcers who are outside the chain of command and charged only with “protecting the hive when the system is out of balance.”

Bad news for anyone standing between Clay and the scale-tipping Danforth.

Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer (Expend4bles, the Point Break and Total Recall reboots) rolls out a script that feels like a discarded idea from Denzel’s first Equalizer film. Each step closer to “the head of the snake” gets more ridiculous, all presented with a bone dry seriousness from Ayer (Fury, Suicide Squad) and Statham that screams for a little self awareness.

Instead, The Beekeeper keeps pushing toward its own misguided goal of sermonizing about corruption while celebrating vigilante vengeance. Where it lands – elevator ride aside – is strictly in plug-and-play Statham territory, another ironic reminder of why his comedic turn in Spy was such a joyous bullseye.

Because You’re Mine


by Hope Madden

Spell is here to let you know that fear of backwoods folk is not for white people only.

Omari Hardwick is Marquis, an enormously successful corporate lawyer who is not above defending clients against class action lawsuits that would primarily benefit people of color like himself. Why does he do it? Because that’s his job, he’s good at his job, he makes a lot of money, and he worked very hard to get where he is.

How do we know that last bit? Well, nightmares about abuse wake him in the morning, plus he knows how to pick a lock when his wife somehow locks herself in her own bedroom. Marquis came from somewhere he’s not proud of, and now he has to pilot his own airplane with his wife and two teens back to Appalachia to go to his father’s funeral.

Spell is a by-the-numbers backwoods thriller. Our hero has forgotten where he comes from. This film plans to scare him into remembering.

Marquis wakes up all James Caan style in the bedroom of some helpful but controlling woman who wants him just to rest. He does not not want to rest, though. Quite reasonably, he wants to know where his family is, what happened to him, and why Miss Eloise (Loretta Devine) keeps the door to his room locked.

Deep in Appalachia, it seems, you will always find a creepy granny type who conjures a bit, an amiable grampa type who’s not as nice as he seems, and an extra-large, extra quiet Jethro kind of guy in bib overalls.

Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer doesn’t drum up too many surprises there. His screenplay borrows heavily from about a dozen films from Misery to The Skeleton Key to Green Inferno, not to mention every flick where a group stops off at a creepy gas station only to realize they’ve gone too far off the map for their own safety.

Wimmer is white, though, which makes this particular story an unusual one for him. Director Mark Tonderai does not get a screenwriting credit, so I guess we assume that this vernacular sprung from the head of Wimmer. I really hope not. It would be problematic enough coming from a Black writer.

Marquis’s foot, though. For gore hounds and the squeamish looking for a nasty thrill, that foot alone is almost worth it.

Until the third act. I am not one to suggest that ambiguity equals plot holes. I like movies that leave questions unanswered. Unless those questions are: Where did the entire cast of villains go off to, leaving the hero all the time in the world to travel wherever he needs to go in these woods? And why isn’t he even limping?