Not only does “Memory” feel just like every other Liam Neeson action/thriller ever made, but it sounds like them, too. Lines such as, “We all have to die sometimes; what’s important is what you do before you go,” have been uttered in films previously. There are others, but that one really stood out.
The entire storyline was made for Neeson but would have been better played by someone else. He has made a career out of making these films already. Go with something different. Taking his age into consideration, “Memory” feels a bit too late to the party. As fun as it always is to watch the 6′ 3½” actor toss people about and slam their heads onto countertops, it isn’t as realistic as it once was. Not only is his face showing his age, but his voice is much weaker. Lines that once alarmed people are unable to evoke fear and interest. I’m speaking primarily of his intended target, the audience, who can’t be sold on the idea of Neeson’s “Alex Lewis” being a tough guy anymore.
It opens, showing us that Alex is a contract killer who hasn’t much empathy. He slashes the throat of a woman’s son right before her as she lays in her hospital bed, most likely about to die, undoubtedly scared to death and now heartbroken. That’s cold!
As the movie continues, we find out he has been hired to do another job. He isn’t interested but decides to take it. Unbeknownst to him, the job he’s offered is to assassinate a 13-year-old girl named Beatriz Leon (Mia Sanchez). The killer has a strict “No kids!” policy.
We then meet Vincent Serra, played by Guy Pearce. Vincent is an FBI agent trying to break up a child sex trafficking ring. He and Alex meet when Alex, more or less, gets in the way of Vincent doing his job. Little do they know; they’re trying to protect the same girl. Now Alex sees it as Vincent getting in his way. Sadly, neither achieves the goal. Now, Alex is on a mission to avenge her death.
The fabulous Monica Bellucci makes her way into the film as a mother who really should re-consider how far she’d go for her child, and I’m not speaking of Beatriz.
The movie is supposed to be about memory loss, correct? That’s what I thought. That tidbit shows up here and there. When there’s something important to remember, Alex writes on his arm. A cell phone would work, too, but maybe he can’t recall how to use one? Anyway, his absent-mindedness is central, which is a great idea. It can relieve him of any guilt and shame he might feel over taking a life.
When he deals with his Alzheimer’s, it seems more of an inconvenience a few times and that’s about it. This will frustrate you as it seems had that been featured more, as promised by the title, the film would have offered another layer that was just sitting there… unused. Yes, you can see his decline, but I felt that the dialogue didn’t hit the marks. There could have been much more. When the opportunities presented themselves, scenes with actors capable of igniting a fire in you don’t appear. My guess? With the material they were given, there’s too much asked of the cast than they could provide.
Directed By: Martin Campbell
Screenplay By: Dario Scardapane
Starring: Liam Neeson, Guy Pearce, Monica Bellucci, Taj Atwal, Ray Fearon, Harold Torres, Mia Sanchez
Produced By: Cathay Schulman, Moshe Diamant, Rupert Maconick, Michael Heimler, Arthur Sarkissian
Run Time: 1h 54m
Genres: Action, Thriller