Liam Neeson‘s leading role in the 2008 smash-hit Taken redefined his career. After his role as a man with “a very particular set of skills,” he suddenly had action movie bona fides. A series of successful Taken sequels followed, along with various other movies in which Neeson played various hard-bitten middle-aged men forced into violent situations.
But lately that well has been running a little dry, with his most recent film Memory already (ironically) deemed extremely forgettable. Neeson plays an expert assassin struggling to stay ahead of the mob, the FBI, and Mexican intelligence. The twist is that he suffers from memory loss, meaning he often has no idea where he is and what he’s doing, having to rely on his instincts to survive.
Memory is currently sitting at 33% on the Tomatometer and critics have not been kind. The main note is that it just feels kinda dull, with Edward Douglas of The Weekend Warrior saying that it’s “a misguided mess from beginning to end, dull at times and then just getting more dour as it goes along.” Nicole Ackman of Next Best Picture dubbed it a “dull, underwritten mess,” while Oliver Jones of the Observer said it’s simply “lackluster and, on occasion, shockingly inept.”
But perhaps the most cutting criticism comes from Mike McGranaghan of Aisle Seat, who identifies that Neeson is coasting on empty by saying “lots of actors go back to their wheelhouses occasionally. Neeson seems to be living in his.” Ouch.
Neeson has said he plans to retire from the action genre soon, so let’s hope he’s made a decent chunk of change from these movies and can go on to put his impressive acting skills to better use.
Memory hits theaters on April 29.