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In parallel universes there exist 123 copies of each person. Yulaw (Jet Li) has broken the law of the multiverse and travelled to parallel worlds where he has systematically murdered his doubles, assuming their physical and mental strengths in the process. Yulaw's last surviving double is LA sheriff's deputy Gabe Law (Jet Li). Pursued by multiverse detectives Roedecker (Delroy Lindo) and Funsch (Jason Statham), Yulaw materialises in LA and seeks the final kill that will make him The One.

Review by Richard Kuipers:
Originally intended as a star vehicle for The Rock (he chose The Scorpion King instead), The One is an actioner with the saving grace of Jet Li's fighting prowess. It's just as well the Chinese superman is called on to display his ability every five minutes, otherwise we might stop and ask why the evil Yulaw wants to kill all 123 of his other selves. The idea of parallel universes is a good one and with a much more intelligent script The One might have taken on Matrix-like layers of intrigue (not to mention Matrix-like sequel opportunities).

As it stands we're asked to accept a villain who wants to eliminate his parallel beings, take their strength for himself and become...what? We're not given any decent explanation other than Yulaw will become 'The One'. It's hard to become involved in this quest because the ultimate prize is hazy at best. If you like a little logic in your sci-fi, this will disappoint. If it's simply top-notch martial arts action and eye-popping special effects you're after, this delivers the goods. Slo-mo, fast-mo, body disintegration, bullet dodging, Cory Yuen stunt co-ordination and the sight of Jet Li fighting himself are much more impressive than a plot that doesn't know what to do with its basic ingredients.

At 83 minutes (6 of which are end credits) The One at least has B-movie brevity on its side. It also has an appealing star in Jet Li who just needs the right vehicle to break into the American big time. This isn't 'the one' to do it, nor does it offer Delroy Lindo or English actor Jason Statham (Lock, Stock...) much as the parallel universe cops on Yulaw's trail.

On a big screen TV with surround sound this is worth a look but you'll probably feel like it shoulda been more of a contender, especially from a director with Millennium and X-files pedigree. An hour's worth of good extras and an OK commentary track round out a decent rental proposition that only Jet Li devotees will probably want to purchase.

Published July 4, 2002

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CAST: Jet Li, Jason Statham, Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo

DIRECTOR: James Wong


AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment


SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailers, Audio Commentary with Director James Wong, DOP Robert McLachlan, Production Designer David Snyder and Editor Jim Coblentz. Featurettes: Jet Li 'The One', Creating the Multiverses, About Face, The Many Faces of Jet Li, Animatic Comparisons, Filmographies. Languages: English, French. Subtitles: English, English (H.O.H), French, Arabic, Hindi. Special Features also subtitled in French.

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