The time around, Neeson plays Alex Lewis, another expert hired killer with a particular set of skills. As this film opens, he’s considering leaving the life behind after seeing signs of the Alzheimer’s that has already claimed his brother. Nevertheless, Alex accepts one final job in El Paso, in which he has to bump off two separate people and recover some important flash drives from the first victim. He pulls off the first hit easily enough but when he discovers that the second victim is a 12-year-old girl (Mia Sanchez), Alex refuses to pull the trigger and keeps the flash drives for himself as an insurance policy.
Unfortunately, the girl had been pimped out by her father to a number of wealthy and powerful people, including the depraved son of powerful real estate developer Davana Sealman (Monica Bellucci), who put out the original hit in order to help her child evade justice. After tying up that loose end, she also calls for Alex to be killed. But even though he’s slipping mentally, he’s still skillful enough to evade her hired goons and kill everyone remotely connected to the crime. Alex also plants enough clues for an FBI task force led by Vincent Serra (Guy Pearce), who also tried to help the girl and feels guilty about what happened to her, to pursue him while always remaining one step ahead of them.
If the basic story points of “Memory” sound familiar to you, it may be that you’ve seen “The Memory of a Killer,” the 2003 Belgian crime drama that has been Americanized here (with both films based on Jef Geeraerts’ novel The Alzheimer Case). Although this version more or less follows the same narrative path of its predecessor, the original film, although a perfectly good genre film in its own right, was more interested in its central character (played in a very good performance by Jan Decleir) as he is forced to reckon with both the weight of his past misdeeds and the cruelties of his present condition.