on April 14, 2002
Every once in a while someone films a movie that really does have a new take on its genre. Even if the general idea existed, it either was not, or could not, be done well on film before. James Cameron's _The Terminator_, Ridley Scott's _Alien_ and _Blade Runner_, Lucas' _Star Wars_, and Spielberg's _Jaws_ and _Close Encounters of the Third Kind_ all achieved this in one way or another.
_The One_ enters this select company both by virtue of originality (I have seen the general premise once or twice before, but never on film) and because even had someone attempted this before, it couldn't have been done as well.
The basic idea of _The One_ is that there are a large number of parallel dimensions, each with a slightly different history (in this one, George Bush became president; in another, it might have been Dole, Gore, or someone even less likely). In each of these universes exists a parallel version of ourselves, as we would be if we'd grown up there. In one of these universes, dimensional travel has been perfected; people can go from one to the other. And one of those people discovers that if he kills off his duplicates, he becomes stronger, faster, smarter; there is some kind of mystical connection between all these parallels, and the power of all is divided up among those that are left; accordingly, he's travelling through the dimensions, slowly eliminating all his parallel selves. The hero of our story is his last remaining duplicate, who has been trying to understand what has been happening to him recently.
Scenes involving such superhuman abilities simply couldn't be done well before this, and few actors other than Jet Li would be able to pull them off convincingly even with special-effects assistance. The pacing is excellent, the plotline fascinating (the bad guy's being chased by a couple of dimensional cops who have an additional concern beyond the fact that this guy's committing multiple homicides: according to some dimensional theory, if he succeeds in eliminating all the others, it will cause a cataclysm), and the action is simply top-notch.
The ending is surprising, and extremely cool. It leaves the possibility of a sequel open, but doesn't require one, either. Highly recommended. If action's your thing, this one will deliver.
on January 23, 2004
The movie has plenty of weak spots, notably the mostly lame humor and stiff acting of most (although I don't find that Li's acting was bad at all), but the idea behind it is solid as far as sci-fi goes. The selling point, of course, is the fighting. Unlike many movies you actually get to see something interesting: Jet Li uses Bagua Zhang, a form of "internal" martial arts from the mid-1800s. It involves very evasive and unusual movements and its trademark circle walking (which is what he's doing practicing at his home). The final fight scenes between the two Jet Li characters is where you can really see the good Jet Li putting it to use against the bad Jet Li, who is using an other rarely seen internal martial art style called Xingyi (spellings vary). Oh, the one liner delivered by the nurse (the actress who plays Frazier Crane's agent on the TV show Frazier)is a killer. I love everthing that actress does, she hits a better comedy note out of that one line than all the other attempts at humor in the movie combined. Finally, the attempts at touching moments aren't so bad (the ending outcome for the good Jet Li is a cute idea).
on September 2, 2004
The One is a true "man's" action movie, full of fighting which is made better by the great heavy metal music selections. This movie starts out fast and rarely lets up, pitting the baddest martial arts action hero in movies against himself, it's great! Other reviewers are right, there could be a better story line, but with all of that action and one of the best endings in action movie history, story line is secondary.
on December 6, 2015
Enjoyed the film. I have always liked Jason Statham, Jet Li, Carla Gugino .. In fact this movie had a strong cast everyone gave an awesome performance no one disappointed. The story-line was interesting, storytelling believable, a lot of action with a lot of Jason Statham fights. Jet Li's magic with martial arts keeps you on your toes.
on November 27, 2005
This movie is alright. I suggest any big fan of jet li go see it. I am just gonna talk about the dvd aspects of the special edition dvd.
Colmbia TriStar present the picture in both a 2:17:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen and a full screen format. The widescreen obviously better duplicates the film's original theatrical showing, but the fullscreen often displays more image at the stop and bottom. Because of the short running time of the feature the two choices can be accommodated one the same side of a dual-layered disc. The picture quality is good when the director isn't playing overmuch with filters and lens. It's a little rough and dark at times, but there are no significant moire effects or grain to worry about. I just wish it were more interesting to look at instead of having to stare at all those dull, tiresome, iron-gray tones.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, which I had admired in Jet Li's previous films, is here merely loud. There is no subtlety, no grace about it anywhere. It's mainly used to underscore every plot action with a pounding. glaring rock beat, whether the scene needs it or not. Occasionally, a bullet will whiz by in a rear speaker or a car will screech around a corner behind us. It seems hardly worth the effort.
As far as special features go, Columbua have produced enough of them to take one's mind off the movie for a while. Like rather than watching the film, you could listen to the audio commentary with director James Wong and various filmmakers with the telivision screen turned off. You could also watch one of four featurettes: "Jet Li is the One," thirteen minutes long, an extended promo with interviews of cast and vrew. "Multiverse Creates the One," eighteen minutes long, detailing the action sewuences, "About Face," six minutes long, examining how the graphic artists enabled Li to fight himself in the finale, and "The Many Faces of Jet li." two minutes, another actor promo. Then, there are some filmographies, a brief animatronic comparison, twenty-eight scene selections, and a widescreen theatrical trailer. English and French are the spoken language options, with English , French,Chinese, Korean, and Thai for subtitles.
Image:I give it 7 stars out of 10.
Sound:I give it 7 stars out of 10.
Extras:I give it 6 stars out of 10.
on May 5, 2005
I remember going head-over-heels when I first saw "The One" in theaters, and then when I purchased it on DVD, it became abundantly clear upon each repeated viewing that there was basically nothing much hiding behind the special effects and ultra-cool martial arts moves, but it succeeds in giving you an exciting ride if you want it to.
Don't get me wrong, I like Jet Li. He's a great guy and I seriously think he's the modern day Bruce Lee. He'll kick your ass if you cross the line and interfere with his moral obligations. He upholds that moral code when he's the good Jet Li, but unfortunately falls flat as the evil Jet Li, who pretty much dominates the film and was the sole-reason why I and many others plunked down our 8 bucks to see it in the first place.
Granted, the bad Jet Li wreaks a lot of havok in the film like crushing throats, shooting and bringing heavy objects down on police officers, and moving at supernatural speeds to hurl people across the room and dodge capture. It's a great popcorn flick and will leave your mouth open in awe and excitement, but that depends if you resent the all-too-familiar special effects and "so-close-to-Highlander-it's-painful" plot. I must note however that there are some original ideas present that you would have to see for yourself. Overall, this is not going to be a sci-fi classic like "The Matrix", but deserves a rental to be cherished for its entertainment value and nothing less. I assure you there will be nary a dull moment when you watch "The One".
on August 8, 2002
Think of this as a man who can pick up police motorbikes and you will be dissapointed, think of it as Jet Li being able to pick up motorbikes and you will enjoy the film no end. Despite the pretty poor acting from some actors aho have already proved themselves and let themselves down, any Jet Li or martial arts fan will be over the moon with the amazing fighting scenes. This film is a must in any collection due to its outragous storyline and amazing special effects. Jackie Chan, your on your way out mate.
on February 19, 2013
It's Jet Li, how can you go wrong? Well with this one they did. There is plenty of action and very well choreographed fighting scenes, and the story is quite decent, but the music choice is what killed it. The movie producers decided it was a good idea to go with really generic and bad artists for the hard rock and metal elements of the songs they wanted. They really could have gone with better music, but other than that it's an ok movie.
on June 16, 2002
Action lovers should love Jet Li's "The One" with its awesome action sequences, Matrix-like special effects and half-decent story. The DVD special features are priceless as the secrets of the cinematography behind "The One" are revealed.
A sci-fi, the film works on the premise that there are multiple universes out there and in each universe we all have counterparts. The universe is policed by a universe hopping police force. The evil Yulaw (Jet Li) discovers that by killing each of his counterparts in the Universe he becomes more powerful with each kill. After offing 123 of his counterparts throughout the multiverse he arrives in our universe to take out his last remaining self, Gabe Law (Jet Li). Can Gabe or the universe police stop Yulaw from fulfilling his goal of becoming "The One?"
THE COOL THINGS:
Like most Jet Li films, the action and effects drive this film. Action fans will love the many Matrix-like special effects.
1. Yulaw versus the "normal cops" including a beatdown with motorcycles.
2. The movie ending Jet Li vs. Jet Li battle.
THE DVD Special Features:
This DVD is just STACKED with some of the best features I've ever seen on a DVD (and that includes A LOT) including:
1. Feature length commentary: Always insightful...
2. Jet Li is "The One": 13 minute feature with commentary about the movie by the actors and actresses.
3. Multiverse: AWESOME 18 minute feature detailing how the CGI-enhanced action sequences were filmed.
4. About Face: 6 minute piece discussing the challenges and techniques of how the scenes with multiple Jet Li's were filmed.
5. Many Faces of Jet Li: Cool 2 minute feature showing the various Jet Li's of the multiverse.
6. Trailer for "The One."
7. Filmographies for: James Wang (director), Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Jason Statham and Delroy Lindo.
8. Animatic Compression for the scene where Yulaw takes out the cops with the motorcycle. (WAY COOL!!!)
Whether you buy or rent it, with the cool action scenes and a half-decent story you can't go wrong with this flick.
on June 3, 2002
Many people might remember him as Jet Li, but for many Asian fans, he is still Li Lian Jie, a maestro of Shaolin martial arts. Now he is gone to Hollywood, and surely we miss him, not because his skills are not to be seen on big screen, but because he is utterly "Hollywood-nized." Though he is experiencing bigger things there, true fans know him through his films made in Hong Kong, and they know they are right.
"The One" is a sort of one extended, or I should say, stretched episode of "X-Files" series, which the director James Wong is deeply involved. Like his previous film "Final Destination," the film is built upon one unique premise, and here we are told in the opening that the universe is in reality a muti-verse, consisting of 125 different versions of the world. In one of them, Mr, Gore is the president of USA while in another Mr. Bush. On the basis of that concept, now Li can play 125 versions of himself, but ... do we need to watch all of them while one of them is already formidable?
Anyway, one evil Ji, coming out of one universe, travels to kill off all other versions of him, and the last one is a good guy Li, who must confront the other Li with a help from the policemen that watch over the prohibited interactions between those universes. As those policeman, Delroy Liodo ("Romeo Must Die") and Jason Statham ("Lock Stock...") appear.
Interested? Unfortunately, the film, short as it is, doesn't afford to hold our attention long as it sounds on paper, simply because of these following clear factors. Reason One: Li is a great action hero on his own, who doesn't need any other "one". Reason Two: the fact is that we have seen similar settings already; say, for example, "The Matrix" (And you may be reminded of "Timecop" with its alternate world image and the multi-universe cops.) The film starts promisingly, but soon we realize that it has little to offer after it sets up its whole rules.
The actions themselves are shot very excitngly, thanks to, of course, Li's nimble movements, but CGI generated scenes are, to be frank, below average, sometimes looking as unnnatural as characters on TV games (but excuse me for saying that, if that is exactly the point). The final battle between the good Li and bad Li is fairly exciting, but still there sticks one little though in my mind while watching it -- that is, why need two Lis when one is great and cool enough? And as for Carla Gugino (mom of "The Spy Kids"), the director is hugely guilty of misusing her, wasting her beautiful and sexy presence, and totally ignoring her potential as playing more than a secondary, disposable character. The way she is used is as misguided as letting Jet Li hold guns (does he need?), and the latter kind of Hollywood-type action is obviously a dead giveaway that they still don't learn the essence of Li's actions.
I said these harsh things because, so far, Ji's Hollywood-made movies are not well-received in Asia, and though we still follow the master's path, namely from "Lethal Weapon 4" to "The One," we don't know for sure; don't know what to do with them. if you really want to know what Li can do with his charismatic acting as one-and-only action hero, see his "Once Upon a Time in China" series. What he needs is the director Tsui Hark's flair for presenting genuinely thrilling, outrageously exciting martial arts jet-coaster sequence.