Review: ‘Memory” is head-scratcher of an action-thriller

Aging action hero Liam Neeson returns to his late-in-life, tried-and-true genre of busting heads and shooting baddies in his latest action-thriller “Memory,” a remake of the Belgian film “The Alzheimer Case."

"Memory" movie poster
Liam Neeson stars in "Memory," an action-thriller about a contract killer losing his grip on reality. The new movie is playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter.
Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — Liam Neeson is back for another go-around as an action hero in the new movie “Memory” playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter.

This time the actor has teamed up with director Martin Campbell, who helmed the James Bond sequels “GoldenEye” and “Casino Royale.”

Neeson plays an antihero with a questionable memory in the remake of the novel's previous adaptation, the Belgian film “The Alzheimer Case.”

The 2003 Belgian motion picture was an adaptation of the novel “De Zaak Alzheimer” by Jef Geeraerts,

The lanky Neeson with the gravelly voice still cuts an imposing figure and remains convincingly enough to be a force to be reckoned with despite almost being in his 70s.


The Irish actor plays an aging hitman with early-onset dementia who was contracted to kill but backs out of murdering a girl much to the dismay and anger of those who hired him.

“Listen to me: The girl stays alive … (or) you’re answerable to me,” Neeson warns others about the 13-year-old in protective custody.

Going on the run from FBI agents, Mexican law enforcement officials and not to mention the shadowy conspirators who aim to silence the assassin once and for all is tricky and dicey enough — where one false step can put you 6 feet under — but Neeson is losing his mind, too.

“We all have to die,” Neeson said while pointing a gun at another. “What’s important is what you do before you go.”

Audiences can expect shootouts, explosions, fistfights and general mayhem when Alex Lewis, played by Neeson, fills the big screen, but the subplot of a failing memory adds intrigue.

Hard to know who to trust in the best of times, but when Lewis starts to lose his grip on reality and must settle one last score before he really becomes incapacity or captured, he’s in the fight of his life.

“I’m the bad man — have been for a long time,” Lewis bluntly admits without regret.

It’s a role or character movie audiences have seen of Neeson many times before in action-thrillers he’s starred in such as "Honest Thief,” "The Marksman," "The Ice Road," "Blacklight" and, of course, perhaps most notably in the "Taken" film franchise.


Frank Lee
Frank Lee

But the talented actor who can easily shed tears as he can spill blood effectively displays the anguish his character feels as his skills and talents decline in the face of a cognitive enemy he can’t easily defeat with his bare fists or with the business end of a gun barrel.

Add to the mix a tenacious and righteous FBI agent played by Guy Pearce, who has a tragic backstory of his own, and Lewis has his work cut out for him.

Pearce memorably — pun intended — starred in an early Christopher Nolan neo-noir mystery thriller that came out in 2000 called “Memento” about a man who suffers from short-term memory loss and who also seeks retribution.

Both characters played by Pearce and Neeson question what to believe and who — and whom to trust — in their respective films, and sometimes they can’t even trust themselves in a theme that all of us can possibly relate to in a less-than-welcoming world full of strangers.

FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at . Follow him on Twitter at .

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write features stories for the Wadena Pioneer Journal. The weekly newspaper is owned by Forum Communications Co.
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