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REVIEW: Memory


 Lurking always out there in the depths of cinema will be a Liam Neesons action film.  In 2008, Taken changed the course of Neeson's career in a massive way, and it also spawned a new subgenera that had older male actors doing action films.  Taken was a massively influential film in the movie industry, and the effects it has had on Neeson's career are still easily seen.

In Memory, Neeson plays Alex Lewis, a hitman who is very good at his job.  He of course has a certain set of skills that allow him to do his job with great efficiency.  One of his jobs would have him murder a thirteen year old that is woven into the plot because of... well, stuff.  Bad people want her dead, and Neeson won't be the one to do it.  The young girl ends up getting murdered anyway, and thus of course Lewis must now go on a rampage.

The teenager, Beatatriz (Mia Sanchez) was being sexually exploited by her father, who is killed by Special Agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce).  Serra works for the FBI's taskforce on child exploitation, so it naturally then makes sense that he would start trying to solve the crimes that Lewis is committing.  The whole movie I was trying to figure out why he was there, and the setup for his role in the story really doesn't make sense.  

That's okay, because that issue really doesn't stick out.  Not a lot really makes sense.  The plot is boiled down to flash drives in the same way that films in the 80s liked to lean in on microfilms.  There are a lot off baddies introduced, some corruption, and I had a difficult time understanding just how everything was connected.  Thankfully, 'flash drives.'  That's all I needed to know.

Most of what takes place seems to just be like some sort of conveyer system to get us to the end of the film.  Hey, I'm not bashing on the invention of conveyers.  They can make work environments much more efficient and less taxing on the labourers.  However, despite all of their benefits, they are not fun to sit and watch for an hour and fifty four minutes.

The action sequences, which are the main event for films like this, are bland and nothing about them is better (or worse) than standard fare.  When this is the case, a film really has to rely on the plot and main character to carry the weight, but those elements are just as bland  

A main part of the story is that Lewis is dealing with the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, hence the title.  This ended up playing less of a role than would be expected, as it mostly just amounted to him having to write key instructions on his forearm.  I felt as though this didn't develop the character in a way that it could have, leaving Alex Lewis mostly being the same as other Neeson characters in the past.

When will this end?  When will we finally be done with this type of action flick?  Who knows.  The found footage craze started with Paranormal Activity in September of 2009, and finally started losing momentum in the mid 2010s.  In 2018, the films Unfriended: Dark Web and Searching were the last of the wide release found footage films.  That's a mainstream lifecycle of nine years (which felt like an eternity), while the Elder Actioner is still in theatres after 13 years.

Found footage films have also been dying on the independent and straight to video circuit, while people like Bruce Willis have been pumping the old man action at an incredible rate.  Even though he has now retired, he has been in seven of these films this year, with three either completed or in post production.  Neeson has six future projects listed as 'thriller' on IMDb.  If distributors are scared off by the scant $12.7 million made by Memory, then there may be a chance... just even a small one, that this genre may be exiting theatres for a while.  That wouldn't be a bad thing at all.

Rating - 2 out of 4 stars

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