No man is immortal, and at least theoretically, no man can continue fronting action features until the end of time, but don’t tell Liam Neeson that. Despite occasionally saying he’s retiring from the action genre, the Oscar-nominated icon continues to accept those paychecks, even at 69 years old. The latest, with its first trailer hitting the web today, is titled Memory, and can even boast a legitimate Hollywood director in the form of Martin Campbell. But we’ve now gone so far down the senior citizen action hero rabbit hole that even the plots of Liam Neeson action movies have effectively become about how he really shouldn’t be starring in these films.
Memory sees Neeson as your classic “assassin with a heart of gold,” happy to murder just about anyone, regardless of their allegiance or family, but don’t ask him to kill a kid! That would be wrong, see. Meanwhile, the assassin coming to the end of his road is also struggling with memory loss. Or as the official synopsis puts it:
MEMORY follows Alex Lewis (Liam Neeson), an expert assassin with a reputation for discreet precision. Caught in a moral quagmire, Alex refuses to complete a job that violates his code and must quickly hunt down and kill the people who hired him before they and FBI agent Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce) find him first. Alex is built for revenge but, with a memory that is beginning to falter, he is forced to question his every action, blurring the line between right and wrong.
This is essentially the prestige version of what is increasingly being referred to as the “geezer teaser,” the brand of low-budget, straight-to-VOD action movies that build their marketing around relatively small appearances from washed-up Hollywood stars like Bruce Willis and Steven Seagal—Willis made no fewer than 8 of these movies in 2021. Neeson, on the other hand, is still held to a somewhat loftier pedestal—films like Memory are being made for modest but respectable budgets, by a filmmaker who can count Casino Royale and Goldeneye among his credits, and Neeson is legitimately serving as a main character with all the screen time you’d expect.
With that said, a plot involving an elite senior citizen assassin vigilante going after “child traffickers” feels uncomfortably familiar in 2022 to the fever dreams of would-be QAnon-style vigilantes, who fantasize about doing exactly the same themselves. But hey, at least we have an incredibly scuzzy looking Guy Ritchie in the same trailer, playing an FBI agent too trapped in bureaucracy to take down the bad guys. How much do you want to bet he’ll eventually side with Neeson in favor of a few extrajudicial executions? Check out the Memory trailer below, and place your bets for how many action films Neeson will appear in after he turns 70 in June.