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The One

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: The One

Starring: Jet Li, Carla Gugino
Director: James Wong
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 80 Minutes
Release Date: November 2001
Genres: Action, Martial Arts, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Jason Statham, Delroy Lindo, Mark Borchardt, Tucker Smallwood

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

How do you get really powerful? Wheaties aren't enough. As confusingly explained in James Wong's THE ONE, what you need to do in order to gain superhuman powers is kill all of the other "yous."

Let me explain. You know in the morning when you look in the mirror and think to yourself, "You handsome devil," what you're not realizing is that there are a hundred versions of you out there in parallel universes. Don't worry, none of them are liable to show up on your doorstep and steal your wife. You have multiverse agents to thank for that. They work behind the scenes, eliminating any "illegal quantum tunneling."

Baffled already? This is less a problem than you think since THE ONE is a noisy popcorn flick starring Jet Li and Jet Li that expects you check your brain at the door. As Yulaw, Li is an unstoppable evil guy who has already murdered 123 versions of himself -- with 123 hilarious hairdos -- in 123 universes. Once he kills the last one, an L.A. cop named Gabriel (Li), Yulaw believes that he will become all-powerful. Already Yulaw can outrun cars and leap small buildings in a single bound. Another theory has it that killing his last parallel self will destroy the universe. I think just one universe goes up in smoke, but I can't be sure since keeping up with the science behind this impenetrable sci-fi story is tricky.

As one to die for, Carla Gugino plays Gabriel's wife. Like most of the rest of the supporting cast, including Jason Statham and Delroy Lindo, she is wasted. The whole film is about Jet Li taking on Jet Li with big loud guns and lots of fancy flying martial arts moves. He's also a bullet dodger.

Although it isn't intentionally funny, teleporting turns out to be humorously painful. Rather than Star Trek's positively tranquil, "Beam me up, Scottie" routine, THE ONE features a teleporting shredder. At one end you're turned in compost, and at the other end you're reassembled. It's a big "Ouch!" moment. The film's very short running time minimizes the audience's pain. A little of this movie goes a long way.

THE ONE runs 1:20. It is rated PG-13 for "intense action violence and some language" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

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