The release of “Memory,” a new Liam Neeson action movie, now playing in theatres, makes the star’s fourteenth anniversary as an action star. 2008’s “Taken” kicked off the “special set of skills” phase of his career of usually playing tough guys shooting their way through one last job.
“Memory” continues the actor’s unbroken string of shoot ‘em ups, but with a twist. He still has a special set of skills, which he deploys to deadly effect, but this time there is a ticking clock.
Neeson is Alex Lewis, an assassin for hire who prides himself in the precision of his work. He is brutally efficient, but lately there have been slip ups. Nothing major, but his memory isn’t what it once was, and the quality of his work is suffering.
As his memory fades, Lewis finds himself in the crosshairs of an FBI agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce, who starred in “memento,” one of the best thrillers involving memory ever made) and Mexican intelligence. Worse, when he turns down a job from ruthless crime human trafficking boss Davana Sealman (Monica Bellucci) to kill a child, she vows to kill him. “I’ve done crazy things,” he says, “but you don’t hurt children, ever.”
To stay alive and help bring Sealman to justice, he must piece the shattered pieces of his memory back together. “We all have to die,” he says, “what’s important what you do before you go.”
Directed by veteran James Bond filmmaker Martin Campbell, “Memory” is a well-constructed thriller, but has a generic, workmanlike feel. The characters feel as though they’ve been cut-and-pasted from other, better movies, leaving the viewer with a feeling of déjà vu. We’ve been there and done that and despite the level of performances from a cast of old pros, it is sunk by a laboured script.
The story of a man trying to undo the bad he has done in his life as his memory fades is a compelling one, but unfortunately, in the end, “Memory” is a forgettable action flick.