When an action movie gets strong reviews from critics and makes bank at the box office, it’s easy to assume it’s a more complex, expertly-crafted thriller with an intelligent script meant to make us think. But “The Beekeeper,” for all its success, isn’t that. Outside of its single, smartly-placed plot twist at the movie’s climax, the story is fairly straightforward: Adam Clay’s neighbor is scammed and dies, and he is determined to see those responsible punished.
Now, that’s not to say at all the film isn’t well-written — it’s just that screenwriter Kurt Wimmer seems to understand exactly what kind of movie this is. There is no loftier ambition than to entertain and thrill, and as a result, he’s trimmed the fat and stuck to a lean, mean, well-paced story that gets straight to the point.
It has everything a good action movie needs, and no fluff, which provides a brisk runtime for audiences. There’s no getting bogged down in expansive world-building — we barely learn anything about the organization Clay works for — and sequel teases are vague at best, with the hero getting away and living to fight another day. There’s not even a post-credits stinger to set up a second story or spin-off. An added benefit of the film’s concise length is that it doesn’t waste a moviegoer’s time, while offering theaters room for more screenings — a far cry from the two-and-a-half-hour behemoths that seem to flood theaters these days.