Scifi Martial Arts
The One
.
Dir: James Wong
Star: Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo, Jason Statham
Cert / Year: 15 - PG13 / 2001
Format: DVD R1
'

There are many universes, and in each universe is an alternative version of you. Travel between these universes is possible but it is highly regulated, with a special force assigned to the job of policing the travel. The multi-verse police force has a problem. One of their own, Yulaw, has turned renegade and is killing the other universe versions of him. With each kill he becomes faster and stronger as he absorbs their energy. With the last kill he believes he will become a god, alternatively it could mean the end of the universe. With only one kill left form him to make it is up to multi-verse cops Roedecker and Funsch to protect the last innocent version of the Yulaw and save the universe.

Jet Li is an excellent martial artist there is no argument about this, however so far his American films have exposed his incredibly limited acting talent. Back in Hong Kong movies are made differently. Action movies are real action movies, with the emphasis is placed on fantastic stunts and cool cinematography so long dialogues or sentimental scenes are few and far between. This suits Jet Li perfectly. Unfortunately western films do require a bit more on the acting front and I'm afraid Jet Li isn't really up to the job (although I keep on watching hoping that one day he will be).

With that little rant out of the way what about the film? It is entertaining in a post Matrix sort of way. The fight scenes when not overly relying on CGI or wire effects are stunning. Jet Li is really at home with this sort of action but what's even more impressive is that for the most part he is fighting himself. The fights are definitely the films greatest strength. The visual eye candy for the most part is top quality and the pace is quick enough to make things just fly by.

I mentioned this was another post Matrix film but just what does that mean? The Matrix was a brilliantly original in its combinations of effects technology and this has lead to a number of imitators, this film is one of them. The problem with this is you really need a good excuse to use these effects (Charlie's Angels was a prime example of not having the excuse), fortunately Yulaw's superhuman strength, speed, etc. are a perfect reason to lapse into true Matrix-o-vision. When these effects work it is extremely cool. However when it fails it is embarrassing. The One has mixed fortunes, occasionally the CGI does tend to take over (the terrible moterbike moment) and the overused wire effects can look cheesy. However the fights where the opponents are moving at a different speed are stunning. Overall it is derivative but good.

Yes it is derivative and this is where the film fails down. The script is a poor mishmash of other people's ideas. The policing idea is straight from Timecop, the gaining strength by defeating your enemies is from Highlander, and add to this a touch of The Matrix for a rather too familiar recipe (maybe the title should have been the many!). There really isn't one original idea in this film, from the start to the incredibly cliched fight in a factory ending (what is it with fully operational deserted factories in these films). Add to this a plot with more holes than Swiss cheese and things are looking a little dodgy. This is not aided by the totally forgettable wooden acting from almost the entire cast (Jason Statham take a bad accented plank like bow).

The One is a fine piece of no brain entertainment. The pizza and beer brigade will love it, but then again they probably loved Jurassic Park 3. But anyone expecting The Matrix will be severely disappointed. What this movie lacks in plot, originality and acting it partially makes up for in action. By no means a classic this is a relatively amusing way to pass an hour and a half. Hey you never know in another universe there is probably a version of this film that is a absolute classic, unfortunately this isn't The One.

Rating: 2 out of 5

DVD
Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Perfect
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Yep its good
Features Director And Writer Commentary
Some great deleted \ replacement scenes
Outakes with optional commentary
Animatic Comparisons
Making-Of Featurette
Theatrical Trailers
Filmographies
Verdict Good Disc, maybe a little light on the extras.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Link Back Top Home