The One (2001)
Starring: Jet Li, Delroy Lindo, Jason Statham, Carla Gugino
Release Date: November 2, 2001
Kung Fu: 10/10
Personally, I loved The One. If you didn't like this movie, then you can stop reading now. Because all I have for this third installment of Jet Li's US made movies, is praise.
First off, let me explain a little about my background. As far as I know of, I have seen every Jet Li movie in print. I'm often called a fanatic (hence http://hkfanatic.com/). The One is the second sci-fi movie Jet Li has starred in (The first is The Black Mask). This movie is not Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, if you are looking for a well thought out sci-fi movie, blended with the perfect amount of righteous kung fu, then this movie is for you.
What if there were multiple universes and there was another version of you in each of them. What would it be called? The multiverse. How about the possibility of traveling between the universes? What would happen if you were to kill yourself in one of these other universes? The One proposes possible answers to these far fetched scientific questions. In this movie, some of the universes are much more advanced than others. A few have found ways of traveling within the multiverse and have created a police force to guard against abuse that could cause serious problems.
Yu Law (Jet Li) is trying to take over the multiverse, he just needs to kill one more time. Unfortunately for Yu, Gabriel Law (Jet Li) is not about to give up that easy. Each time your equal in another universe is killed off the energy of that person killed is divided among the survivors.
I know, you may say "That's just like The Highlander," and you would not be totally incorrect. In fact, that probably was inspiration for this story, along with Timecop, and The Matrix. For those of you in love with The Matrix so much that you cannot accept this movie, the fight scenes in this movie, compared to The Matrix are far superior. Yuen Woo-Ping is a genius don't get me wrong, but this is not just a rip-off of The Matrix. If you think that this is a cheap imitation--every movie that uses slow-motion to enhance scenes is a rip-off of The Matrix and I just don't buy that.
Jet Li kicks some major Jet Li in this movie. The fight scenes are immaculate and well blended. I can't wait for the special edition DVD of this so I can see just how they managed to get Jet Li to fight himself. The last fight scene in the factory has just got to be seen! There are creative camera angles and special effects that make the fight one of the best I've seen in a sci-fi movie!
Filling up the cast is Carla Gugino, who also plays multiple roles as the many wifes and girlfriends of the many Laws (Jet Li's) in the multiverse. Delroy Lindo makes a second appearance with Jet Li, the first being in Romeo Must Die--the first US made Jet Li movie. Also filling out the cast is Jason Statham of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch fame.
I can fully recommend The One to anybody who has no preconceived notion to hate it for not being The Matrix. I don't dislike The Matrix, I just think that condemning another movie based on what you think is just a copy of it is plain crazy! When I stop seeing quotes like "IT'S NOT "THE MATRIX" BUT IT'S STILL ENJOYABLE..." I will be happy!
One more thing, when the two Jet Li's are fighting each other under the sparks that are flying about (the factory is having issues with not blowing up) watch the moves each of them are doing. At first both of them are using similar techniques. The evil Jet Li uses ruthless straight-forward powerful moves, the good Jet Li switches in the middle of the fight to just the opposite. This gives the good Jet Li the advantage when he can use all that force against the bad version of himself.
review - 11/8/2001 - ek