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The One

movie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com 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



Reviewer Roundup
1.  Edward Johnson-Ott review follows video review
2.  Steve Rhodes read the review movie reviewmovie review
3.  Dustin Putman read the review video review

Review by Edward Johnson-Ott
½ star out of 4

Now here's something you don't see everyday: a movie title that matches the number of stars most critics are going to give to it.

After Jet Li's last film, "Romeo Must Die," "The One" comes as quite a disappointment. It's a disappointment for anyone who saw the trailer, as well. Ads for "The One" show Li doing a lot of "Matrix" style behavior - dodging bullets, defying gravity, yadda yadda yadda - while the narrator talks of a man with special powers who might become the One. It gives the impression of being a story about how a man in our reality could get the abilities of someone in the reality of "The Matrix" or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

No such luck. "The One" merely strings together a lot of not very special fight scenes with a hackneyed sci-fi tale. Writer Glen Morgan and co-writer/director James Wong speculate that there are numerous parallel universes (the multiverse - a term DC Comics has used for a couple of decades at least), each with its own Earth populated by variations of all of us.

If true, that means there are hundreds of Ed Johnson-Otts on alternate Earths, each trying to get their review of this lame little movie finished before deadline. How depressing is that?

Gabriel Yulaw (Li), a former officer in the Multiverse Bureau of Investigation, has gone renegade, traveling from one universe to the next murdering variants of himself. He believes that as each doppleganger is snuffed, the power of his life force is shared by the survivors. When he finally kills the last double, all the power will flow into him and he will become the One.

Oh, this guy has got to be a Republican.

After snuffing 123 of his look-alikes, Yulaw heads for the final confrontation, pursued by M.B.I. agents Roedecker (Delroy Lindo) and Funsch (Jason Statham). But this Gabriel Yulaw, best known as Gabe, is unaware of any extra-dimensional hijinks. He just wants to live a nice, normal life with his wife T.K. (Carla Gugino) and is unprepared to do battle with his own bad ass self.

The idea is fine, I suppose, but the filmmakers merely use it as a clothesline to hang fight scenes on. Li gets ample opportunity to strut his martial arts stuff, but we've seen plenty of that before. His acting is tolerable, although at times he seems less assured with his lines than he did in "Romeo Must Die." The other key players are fine, particularly Jason Statham and the always powerful Delroy Lindo. As far as the special effects, do you remember those Godawful futuristic scenes in "The Terminal?" The aerial battles here look just as bad.

I suspect the filmmakers hoped that "The One" would do for Jet Li what "The Terminator" did for Arnold Schwarzenegger, but my bet is that his payoff will be less than Jean-Claude Van Damme got for "Universal Soldier 2," which was zero. And zero is even worse than one.

Copyright 2001 Edward Johnson-Ott

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