Not the Liam Neeson film I’d pay attention to or even remember.
The last two Liam Neeson action movies I chose to skip were “The Ice Road” and “Blacklight,” because when I sense a movie will be bad, I’ll take my chances elsewhere. In his recent track list, “Honest Thief” and “The Marksman” were both not that good. The only reason why I decided to review his next film “Memory,” the American remake of the Belgian import “The Memory of a Killer,” is because last week, I saw entertaining films like “The Northman,” “The Bad Guys,” and “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” and if I only saw good movies, I wouldn’t be a film critic. I would be a movie goer, and there’s usually a distinction between them.
Back to the subject, “Memory” was directed by Martin Campebell, whose last action entry was “The Protégé.” Both these films don’t rank with some of his most entertaining flicks like “The Mask of Zorro” or “Casino Royale.” In fact, “Memory” is yet another run-of-the-mill Neeson-starring picture.
Set in El Paso, Texas, Neeson plays an assassin-for-hire named Alex Lewis, on the verge of having Alzheimer’s, who wants out of the game, but he had one last job before he can call it quits. His brother has the disease, and it might be hereditary, so Alex could be heading in that direction.
Guy Pearce plays an agent named Vincent, who deals with a Mexican man by the name of Papa Leon (Antonio Jaramillo), who was trafficking his daughter Beatriz (Mia Sanchez) for sex. Real father of the year. The agent wants to help the girl, who was briefly detained. Alex is assigned to kill that very same girl, but he refuses.
I suppose Neeson and Pearce give some decent performances, when the former struggle to grasp his condition and the latter has to go deeper in the main case, but they both probably would have been better in another film with another screenplay. Something fresher than “Memory” has to offer.
This may be a remake of another film, but I was still reminded of how good Pearce was in “Memento,” which had him suffering from a condition that prevents him from making new memories. That was a serious and challenging character study compared to this. And if you haven’t seen that Christopher Nolan classic, yet, then see it soon.
Monica Bellucci plays Davana Sealman, the head of the child prostitution ring, while Ray Stevenson costars as a detective who has to be a bad guy, too, and both of them seem bored by the movie’s plot. For an action movie made by a fine talent, it doesn’t know how to guide them all on alternate levels.
If you want a better, wiser Neeson action movie, watch “Widows” from 2018, which deserved more than how the box office receipts and those “Bohemian Rhapsody” fans judged it. He was a villain in that, but at least he didn’t succumb to any cliches, whatsoever. Memory” has nothing on that masterpiece or any of the recent action films I’ve been praising lately.
Earlier today, I was asked by a friend of mine which is the better movie to see-“The Northman” or “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” I answered: “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” and I gave both of them four stars.” “Memory gets one and a half for being the generic action thriller to waste such talents as Campbell, Neeson, Pearce, Bellucci, and Stevenson.