Memory: Release Date, Cast, And More

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Hollywood remakes of non-American films are nothing new, and some of them have even gone on to become bonafide classics that stand on their own two feet (see: "The Departed"). Other times, however, you get director Antoine Fuqua's "The Guilty," a redo of the Danish crime thriller of the same name that /Film's Chris Evangelista felt suffered from having "the slick sheen of Hollywood all over it." As chance would have it, "The Guilty" star Jake Gyllenhaal's next movie, the Michael Bay-helmed "Ambulance," is also a remake of a Danish thriller. Make of that what you will.

"Memory," the latest entry in Liam Neeson's late career run as an action star, is not a re-working of a Danish movie. It is, however, another remake of a European genre film, this time in the form of 2003's "The Alzheimer Case," a Belgian crime thriller directed by Erik Van Looy, and based on the book "De Zaak Alzheimer" by Jef Geeraerts. More than that, it's a movie that fits squarely with most of Neeson's filmography post-"Taken," for both better and worse.

Memory Release Date and Where You Can Watch It

Open Road Films has scheduled "Memory" to open in theaters on April 29, 2022. Neeson's history with the company goes back to 2012 when he starred in director Joe Carnahan's "The Grey" (which was only the second movie Open Road had released after being founded in March 2011). Despite the blowback over the film's misleading trailers — which painted Carnahan's survival drama as being less interested in meditating on the meaning of life and death and more focused on having Neeson fight wolves — "The Grey" was a critical and financial hit that grossed more than three times its $25 million budget.

In more recent years, Open Road has firmly ensconced itself in the Liam Neeson action movie business. The company has already distributed two Neeson-led thrillers ("Honest Thief" and "The Marksman") since the pandemic began and will release a third one, titled "Blacklight," three months before "Memory" hits the scene. Neeson seems as bemused as everyone else that he's continued to make these types of films on his way to turning 70 in June, but so long as audiences keep turning out for his mid-budget shoot-em-ups, Open Road appears content to keep them coming.

What Is Memory About?

Neeson stars in "Memory" as Alex Lewis, an expert killer-for-hire who lands himself in hot water when he refuses to carry out a job that violates his personal moral code. Left with no real choice, Alex sets out to kill the criminals who hired him, all while an FBI agent is hot on his tail. Further complicating matters, Alex's memory is starting to fade, forcing him to question his very sense of what is right and what is wrong.

The basic premise for "Memory" is more or less the same as that for "The Alzheimer Case," a film in which the main character is in the early stages of developing Alzheimer's disease. This is in keeping with most of Neeson's recent action movies and the way they've integrated their star's advancing age into the plot, as opposed to awkwardly dancing around it like some of Tom Cruise's recent starring vehicles have. (See also: the amusing moment in "The Mummy" where Russell Crowe called the then-54 year old Cruise a "young man.") As with "Memory," this also gives Neeson some dramatic substance to sink his teeth into when he's not shooting his enemies or barking threatening one-liners.

Memory Director, Writers, and More

"Memory" hales from director Martin Campbell, the filmmaker behind two of the most widely well-regarded James Bond movies of all time ("Goldeneye" and "Casino Royale"), as well as the delightful, sexy swashbuckler that was "The Mask of Zorro" and the notorious misfire that "Green Lantern." In the past, the quality of Campbell's output was less of a concern, with his hits outnumbering his misses. Since "Green Lantern," though, he's settled into a groove of helming action-thrillers that are passable at best and generic at worst, including last year's "The Protégé" (which /Film's Hoai-Tran Bui described as a "dull assassin movie misfire" in her review.)

Among those joining Campbell behind the camera on "Memory" are writer Dario Scardapane (who penned several episodes of "The Bridge" and Netflix's "The Punisher"), along with Campbell's "The Foreigner" and "The Protégé" cinematographer David Tattersall. Again, there's nothing about the film that sounds outright bad. It's just that Campbell's work as a director post-"Green Lantern" has mostly elicited shrugs, much like the majority of Neeson's most recent action movies. The hope is the pair will reinvigorate one another creatively by teaming up for "Memory," but in the meantime, it's best to approach this one with modest expectations.

Memory Cast

To their credit, Campbell and his production team have assembled a crew of sturdy character actors to star opposite Neeson in "Memory." Their ranks include Guy Pearce as Vincent Serra, the FBI agent who gets caught up in a deadly game of cat and mouse with Neeson's Alex Lewis and the nasty crooks he refused to do business with in the film. Other cast members include Monica Bellucci ("Mozart in the Jungle"), Harold Torres ("Run Coyote Run"), Taj Atwal ("Truth Seekers"), and Ray Fearon (who also co-starred in "The Foreigner" and "The Protégé").

I should also give props to Neeson, an actor who keeps bringing his A-game to every action film he makes, no matter how tedious or formulaic they are. He could easily sleep-walk through most of these movies the way Bruce Willis has with his projects for years, yet he remains a reliable source for good performances. Failing all else, that should remain the case with "Memory."