Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jet Li vs Jet Li for the multiverse championship, 12 Oct 2003
This review is from: The One [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
What else could a guy ask for really? Not only do you have Jet Li doing his martial arts thing, which he does better than anyone else working in movies today, but he finally faces a worthy opponent (himself); then there's the gorgeous Carla Gugino, who has long been one of my favorite actresses; throw in a visionary, science fiction storyline, all kinds of explosions, some pretty darn impressive CGI, and you've got yourself a movie I will gladly pay to watch. But it gets better. The story comes from the minds of X-Files legends Glen Morgan and James Wong, with Wong directing and Morgan serving as co-producer of the story they co-wrote. Best of all, though, we get to see Jet Li portray a bad guy, and that is something you just don't want to miss.
Jet Li plays both of the characters at the heart of this story. The universe of The One is not even a universe, it's a multiverse, with versions of each person existing simultaneously in each universe; all these different versions of "you" are connected somehow, and the power vacuum left by the death of one "you" is not lost but is shared equally among all of the other versions of "you." Travel between the universes is possible through wormholes, and such travel is strictly policed. When one agent discovers that he can become more powerful by killing one of his counterparts elsewhere, he becomes a renegade who knocks off 123 versions of himself to become almost all-powerful. Lawless (the bad Jet Li) makes a spectacular escape from the universe cops and comes after the one remaining version of himself out there, Gabe Law (the good Jet Li). Gabe has naturally been gaining in power and strength himself all this time, and this fact plus his martial arts background makes Gabe a force to be reckoned with. The movie builds to the ultimate confrontation between these two selves, a nice twist on the struggle between good and evil.
I, for the most part, like my martial arts displays realistic and natural; if you're going to use wires and allow for all sorts of superhuman abilities, you'd better do an impressive job with the special effects. Consider that job done in The One. Using such devices as different film speed and CGI animation, this movie's special effects are quite impressive; Wong avoids the kind of excess you find in many a Matrix clone. There are a couple of scenes in which the animation does not look real for a moment or two, but one can easily overlook this because the things that the souped up version of Jet Li does pretty much rock the house. The fight scenes are in no way diminished by the use of the old hidden wire technique, and you walk away from this movie knowing you have gotten your money's worth of entertainment. The DVD adds a plethora of special features on the making of the movie, including a commentary by Wong and crew, some good looks at the fight choreography work of Cory Yuen, a really cool animation sequence of one action scene using G.I. Joe-type figures, and another look at all of the faces of Jet Li that go to form the funniest part of the movie – as Lawless' crimes are detailed, we are shown photos of all the incredibly diverse and oftentimes hilarious guises of Jet Li's character across the multiverse.
I think The One is a fantastic, action-packed winner. Just accept the premise of the whole multiverse idea; it works quite well so long as you don't let yourself ponder over the implications and questions the whole concept raises in your mind. If you find yourself overanalyzing the movie's premise, just think about how gorgeous Carla Gugino is – that's the strategy I employed, and I must say it worked quite well indeed.
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