The One (2001)
Director: James Wong
"Bad Jet Li" hops from alternate universe to alternate universe to murder every alternate version of himself. In the process, he becomes stronger, quicker and smarter. When he finally gets to the last version of himself, that I will call the "Good Jet Li", he meets his match and mucho ass-kicking ensues. Who will be “The One”?
Jackie Chan did it (in "Twin Dragons"), Van Damme overdid it (and got it right in "Replicant") and now it’s Jet Li’s turn to battle his double. The boyz that gave us the kool "Final Destination" are tackling the action/sci-fi genre once again. Do they succeed? Well, I will say this: this movie has a neato premise but that’s all it is, a premise. It’s never developed into a full story. Instead, it’s used as an excuse to showcase impressive fight sequences after fight sequences. Is that positive? Read on...
The good thing about that decision is that "The One" never quits on your ass. I’ve never seen a film move so fast and not slow down for one micro-second. We, the audience members, don’t have the time to breathe yet alone take a damn pee break! The bang-bang, punch, kicks are non-fucking stop and they’re accompanied with a rocking soundtrack that will have your feet tapping in the aisle. From exciting shootouts, to jaw-dropping wire fu, to rocking explosions, to the inevitable Jet Li vs Jet Li brawl, this movie is an hour and half bonanza of action. The director goes all-out here by slapping fast motion our way (when Li runs) and using slow motion like a whore in heat (whatever that means). That makes the action sequences look very “Matrix” like and yes, very exciting! Trust me, you will never get bored.
The drawback of that decision is that the film feels very superficial. The characters aren’t real, they’re video game characters. The drama is non-existent and the love angle of the film is as deep as an “Archie” comic. It’s a shame that the situation isn’t milked for all that its worth. Having two Jet Li’s in one universe is a gimmick that could’ve been utilized to up the tension or the character conflicts of the flick, especially in regards to Good Jet Li’s wife (Gugino), but the film is not interested in that stuff, it just wants to bombard us with lots of violence. Even the first meeting between the two Jet Li’s is slapped our way in a very detached manner. Could’ve done more with that.
But in the end, "The One" still kept a big grin on my face. It’s definitely a guy flick. Yes, the ending didn’t go the way I wanted it to go and yes, the last frame is straight out of “Mortal Kombat: The Movie”, but I still had a freaking blast! How can you go wrong with Jet Li dodging bullets and whooping ass like his life depended on it? How can you fail with Jet Li punching the crap out of Jet Li? It’s impossible! The gripping opening scene, the startling CGI effects and the police motorcycle fight sequence alone are worth the price of admission (that’s all I’ll say about those scenes). This definitely isn’t a “real” movie but it’s the most exciting “live action” video game I have ever seen in my entire pitiful existence. KEEP KICKING THAT BOOTY JET!
No gore but lots of bullet hits and kicks all over the place.
Jet Li (Gabriel/Yulaw) should stick to bad guy parts. I loved him in "Lethal Weapon 4"! Here his weak speech pattern and his mean face serve his evil character well. It’s when he plays the good guy that the problems arise. First off, I can hardly understand a word that he’s saying and second of all, his emotional delivery feels "off". One thing’s for sure though and that is that the man sure knows how to kick that ass. Carla Gugino (TK) isn’t given much to do here but look pretty and she does it well. The dame looks fine! I dug Jason Statham (Funsh) in "Ghost Of Mars" but I think his aggressive bulldog shtick is getting old. He’s ok here but like I said...it's getting old. Delroy Lindo (Roedecker) cashes a check. How’s that new car rolling, Delroy? Is it slick?
T & A
Wong does well but the film wasn’t as stylish as I hoped it would be. I think the special effects took over the creative process and Wong had to adjust his directing to them. Sure, we get lots of fast/slow motion but they’re only there to serve the fight sequences. I wish that they had been used to up the ambiance of certain scenes. Nevertheless we get a relentless pace, some nice camera angles and one groovy sequence where Li walks through fire. Overall, it’s decent.
I almost got up and danced. If it wasn’t the engaging score, it was the slick techno or the gnarly heavy stuff. Wong must love “Papa Roach”.
IMAGE: The anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 image is flawless with bright colors, solid blacks and not one spec, grain or halo in sight.
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is perfect, be it when serving the dialogue, the score or the sound effects. There’s also a DTS Surround Sound Option which is equally great.
Being as this was the "Superbit" edition, there were no EXTRAS on this disc, but if it's optimum audio/visual quality you’re craving, you hit the right note here.
If, like me, you play lots of video games (DOD is my fav) and you dig Jet Li, then I’m sure you’ll get a couple of round kicks out of this one. But if you’re looking for a deep Sci-Fi or plausible drama, skip it. This one is for the short attention spanned violence junkies of the world. Want to see Jet Li battle Jet Li with some “Papa Roach” pounding in the background? Yes? Then this bad boy is for you. "The One" is, without a doubt, the easiest movie I have ever had to watch. Kick, punch, pow-pow…that’s what this entire movie is about.
This flick was shot in Los Angeles California, USA. I was sure it was BC...sure looked like BC.
Glen Morgan and James Wong wrote the script.
Jet Li is 5”6”.