‘Memory’ review: Liam Neeson fires off another action movie, and this one hits the mark

In a dimly lit and sparsely populated well being club, a bearded gentleman in sweats and in excess of-the-ear headphones grinds it out on a treadmill that is struggling with the parking good deal. A hooded figure emerges from the pounding rain and the murky night time, steadily approaching the window and pulling out a gun with a silencer—and just like that, the operating gentleman is a dead guy, crumpled up on the health and fitness center floor.

It’s a scene of elegantly made, closing violence, and it’s 1 of the several moments when the taut revenge thriller “Memory” proves to be a minor extra elevated than just another B-film actioner starring the nearly 70-yr-outdated Liam Neeson, who can nonetheless reduce to the chase with a sharp line reading and still consider down cocky henchmen fifty percent his age in hand-to-hand overcome. (When will these henchmen at any time discover!)

In the 14 many years since the 1st “Taken” film with Neeson as retired CIA operative Bryan Mills telling his daughter’s captors about his “very distinct set of skills,” cementing Neeson’s standing as an all-time Motion Movie Icon, the fantastic Irish thespian has appeared in shut to 50 movies, alternating amongst status initiatives and generally entertaining but quite disposable action fare. Not a 12 months goes by exactly where we really do not see another poster with a steely-eyed Neeson wielding a gun, with slogans these types of as:

  • Acquire Again YOUR Daily life (“Unknown”)
  • Under no circumstances STEAL A MAN’S Second Opportunity (“Honest Thief”)
  • JUSTICE Arrives DOWN TO HIM (“The Marksman”)
  • Lives ARE ON THE LINE (“The Commuter”)

Now comes “Memory,” and the poster tells us “HIS Head IS FADING. HIS CONSCIENCE IS Very clear.” At 1st blush, this may feel to be an additional in the extended assembly line of Neeson actioners—but maintain on. Neeson’s co-stars incorporate these very first-price skills as Monica Bellucci, Male Pearce and Ray Stevenson, the director is the veteran Martin Campbell, who gave us 1 of the very best Bond videos at any time in “Casino Royale” (2006), and this is a remake of the 2003 Belgian gem “The Memory of a Killer,” so there are symptoms indicating this could be some thing much more than another formulaic vehicle.

These indications are value heeding.

Leeson’s Alex Lewis is the compulsory Employed Assassin With a Mysterious Previous who is battling with advancing memory decline. Soon after FBI Agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce) rescues a 13-calendar year-outdated immigrant girl named Beatriz (Mia Sanchez) from a sex trafficking ring, the nefarious and highly effective crime boss Davana Sealman (Monica Bellucci) orders Alex to wipe out all free finishes that would tie her to the ring—including the younger woman. Alex does not harm children, but he has no qualms about taking out a number of assorted lousy guys who are making an attempt to get HIM out. But when Beatriz is murdered, Alex just can’t be confident if he’s the a person that pulled the trigger. In the meantime, we just can’t be guaranteed about the loyalties of Ray Stevenson’s area law enforcement detective. It’s a tangled movie noir world wide web they’ve weaved!

As Alex’s memory carries on to betray him, he strikes up an alliance with Vincent, and it’s a terrific callback to Christopher Nolan’s “Memento” when Alex scribbles pertinent facts on his overall body, just as Pearce’s Leonard did in that 2000 neo-noir traditional. Neeson never telephones in his performances, but he’s particularly invested this time all around, taking part in a dude who can be a pure killing machine a person second, and as misplaced as a little one the subsequent. Pearce and Bellucci headline the terrific supporting solid, and the 78-12 months-previous Campbell proves he can continue to immediate the hell out of a slick and engrossing thriller.