Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Featuring:||Jet Li, Delroy Lindo, Carla Gugino, Jason Statham, Jet Li Lian-jie|
|Producer:||Glen Morgan, Steve Chasman, James Wong|
Parallel universes—the idea is intriguing. These other-world ideas are not new. C.S. Lewis penned them in his allegorical “Chronicles of Narnia”; sci-fi fans recognize it from TV’s “Sliders”. Unfortunately, “The One” is every Sci-Fi fans worst nightmare: a big studio (Columbia Pictures) gets a big budget and blows it on an inferior movie.
The multiverse in this flic is intended to create some suspense and maybe challenge to the imagination. But only two of a possible 124 parallel worlds in James Wong’s multiverse is explored. You can separate one world from another by determining who is the U.S. President—Al Gore or George Bush (presenting Universal Health Care to Congress).
Nicholas Meyer proved in 1979 in the much-better “Time After Time” that chasing someone through time could be very suspenseful. If that’s what you want, skip this and rent that. “The One” also fails miserably in the area of ego vs. ego. Jet Li, with a growing following of fans due to his Martial Arts prowess, may find himself losing some with this turkey. Some critics say Li could be the next Mel Gibson, but it is appearing that Jean-Claude Van Damme may be the closer comparison. With just four of his 40 films in his English-language portfolio, studios have convinced him to recycle dual-action-roles that have failed other would-be stars. Mix in some really lame dialogue and shallow narratives and you’re stuck with a cinematic mix that makes even “Battlefield Earth” look good.
Jet Li plays Gabe, Yulaw, Lawless. Yulaw is the villain of our story and Gabe, an LA County Sheriff’s deputy, is our unlikely hero. He is pursued through these different dimensions by Redecker (Delroy Lindo) and Funsch (James Statham). They are agents of the Multiverse Bureau of Investigation. Yulaw is sentenced to the Hades Universe for his multiple murders. Killing is so casual that they count down his victims for us before sentencing. Yulaw has murdered himself 123 times in other worlds. He is also a former agent of the MBI. When he first killed himself in another universe, he discovered it gave him extra energy. Yulaw then got this brilliant idea to become THE ONE. He wants all the power of his other selves. Each death has made him stronger, faster, and smarter. Quicker than you can “rip-off “The Matrix” again”, Yulaw can now dodge bullets, jump over high walls, and be clocked by police radar at running over 50 mph.
The action and special effects (supposed to keep your mind from the poor plot) come across contrived and staged. And the battle between Gabe and Yulaw? Watch out, cause if these two fighting each other both die, then there goes the universe (literally).
There are some other negatives besides the violence: a homosexual “king-of-the-hill” plot point at the end, and two men discuss gay pornography while they are working.
“The One” is not an action film for children, so don’t take them. However, there is very little language and no sex. But even with that said, “The One” is not a must-see.