The One


Directed by: James Wong
Written by:Glen Morgan, James Wong
Starring: Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo, Jason Statham, James Morrison
Released: January 10, 2002
Grade: C+

It’s tough to be an open minded critic because there are some movies you just don’t really want to see and you enter the theatre with negative preconceptions.  Jet Li’s last film, Romeo Must Die, was a boring kung-fu fest relying on Matrix-like special effects to get the audience wowing.  The trailer for The One looked almost identical and you’ll understand why I wasn’t taken by the ridiculous catch phrase - “what if someone was travelling through parallel universes and he looked exactly like you?”  Geez, I’ve always wondered...

Allow me to elaborate on that plot.  Yulaw (Li) is an evil dude who’s travelling to other universes to kill himself.  So far he’s killed 123 of himself and each one he kills makes him even more powerful.  There remains just one more replica of himself to kill, Gabe.  There are many theories as to what will happen if the last of himself is killed.  The entire universe may implode or Yulaw may become a very powerful god.  Either way, it’s not pretty.

Sent to stop him are Roedecker (Lindo) and Evan (Statham).  They’ve been chasing him for over two years but the clock is now ticking faster than ever.  The fate of the universe rests on their shoulders.  Not to be overlooked is Gabe himself.  He too has become powerful following Yulaw’s slaying and may be the only one who can stop him.  It’s Li vs. Li in a battle of good and evil.

It’s dull.  It’s silly.  It’s stupid.  Here we go again with the fancy special effects that look like a cross between The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  Who really cares if Li can fly through the air really high and kick people in slow motion?  The film is little more than a vehicle for director James Wong (Final Destination) and editor James Coblentz to show off their “artistic” ability.

Having Li playing the two feature characters is an obvious difficulty in having them appear on screen simultaneously (especially during the confrontation scenes).  Those paying close attention will be annoyed by rarely seeing the two in the same scene.  Quite often, we only see a camera shot of one at a time or when both are in shot, we see a front and a back (which is obviously a body double).  Further, the quick editing masks what’s actually going on - it’s really confusing.

The One is certainly not the one in my book.  To think that in a parallel universe, this film wouldn’t have been made.  I guess there are some places better than Earth after all.