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Memory Reviews Are Online, Read What Critics Are Saying About The Liam Neeson Action Movie

Liam Neeson in Memory.
(Image credit: Open Road Films)

Liam Neeson is set to star in Memory, an English-language remake of the Dutch film The Memory of a Killer (also known as The Alzheimer Case), and it definitely sounds like something you'd find on the roster of upcoming Liam Neeson movies. The action thriller will see the actor as Alex Lewis, an expert assassin who refuses a job and must go on the hunt for those who want him dead. Making that quite a bit more complicated is the fact that Alex is afflicted with severe memory loss that affects his every move. 

Critics have had the opportunity to screen the film ahead of its April 29 release, and the reviews are in to help us decide if we’ll be scheduling a trip to the theater. The movie was directed by Martin Campbell, who is known for his work on the Bond films Goldeneye and Casino Royale. It also stars Guy Pearce, Monica Bellucci and Taj Atwal.

Let’s get right to the reviews, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of Memory. Our own Mike Reyes rates the movie 3 out of 5 stars, saying this was one of Liam Neeson’s better projects in recent years, allowing the actor to showcase his charm and relatability rather than leaning only on his acting chops: 

While it’s not as loaded with spectacle as films like The Ice Road or Honest Thief, Memory seems to have traded that in for a quieter, more introspective thriller. That trade off is more than welcome, with more of Liam Neeson’s acting skills being allowed to take center stage. It’s not a pulse pounding, thrill-a-minute adventure; but Martin Campbell’s film uses moments like those to enhance the slower, more methodical story at play.

At the time of this writing, there seems to only be a handful of reviews for Memory; and the overall consensus is rather negative. With Liam Neeson's comments about an eventual action retirement apparently being written off as a joke, some critics might not be laughing. This is especially true with reactions like this next one from Movie Nation's Roger Moore:

The premise, that a not-remotely-young man suffering from the early stages of dementia could still overpower and outshoot one and all, perform self-surgery on a gunshot wound, sneak onto a yacht party and hit well-guarded targets, seems a stretch.

Making a Liam Neeson action movie is a certainly a fine line to walk, especially since there's so many of them to choose from. In such a well worn tradition, it's easy to accidentally fall into the pitfall of coming so close to parody that it robs a film like Memory of the serious energy it's attempting to embody. That leads us to Alonso Duralde from The Wrap's review, which echoed that very sentiment thusly:

Campbell crafts a saga that provides unintentional hilarity until it takes a climactic turn into moral reprehensibility, and neither is a good look for a movie that, in April, isn't even the first Action-Neeson movie of 2022.

That's not to say that Memory doesn't seem to have anything new to add to the pot. Morris Yang's review at In Review Online seems to credit director Martin Campbell with contributing some fresh blood to the Neeson Action oeuvre. The problem is, there's not enough of that present in the mix, as Yang notes in his criticism: 

Sadly, Memory doesn't extend itself to such a conclusion, its embittered conceit superficially manifesting as one trick (or maybe two) up Campbells sleeve as he devotes all creative energy, instead, to shallow caricature of the deep state.

Our last review in this roundup comes from Derek Smith at Slant Magazine. Continuing the negative trend of reactions to Memory, Smith seems to think that the film is a little too memorable in terms of the beats it employs. As such, that colors Smith's overall view on the film in the following light:

Martin Campbell's film never shakes off its familiarity, and as such seems destined to, well, be lost to public memory.

By now fans of Liam Neeson’s best movies have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the actor in these types of action movies, and it sounds like Memory adds even a little more to that in this psychological thriller. This isn’t the end for Neeson either, as the actor clarified that he isn’t planning to retire from the action genre after all. Memory is set to arrive in theaters on Friday, April 29, and be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what’s coming soon to a theater near you.

Mike Reyes
Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.