The One

Hey, y’all, what do you know? We thought we were living in a universe, right? Well we were wrong, this is in fact a multiverse! There are countless (well, 125) dimensions similar but different in varying degrees to ours, and there is another version of you in each of these dimensions. In one particular world, unlike here though, people are aware of this reality, and they’ve even found a way to hop from one dimension to another. But wait, it is highly RESTRICTED! There’s even a multiverse police to keep thing balanced. Cause there needs to be a balance. So things remain, er, balanced. Unfortunately, there’s a bad little boy named Yulaw (Jet Li) who decided to travel illegally between worlds, systemically killing each of his selfs? Why? Because apparently, everytime one of your other “you” dies, his energy is divided between the survivors. Yulaw figures that if he kills all of his personas, he’ll become a God!

But what about natural death? Everyone dies eventually, do those who live longest get stronger and stronger? How many 90 year olds do you know who can dodge bullets and crush cars? And why exactly 125 dimensions? And why does there have to be the same people in each, only with different hair or a different job? And what is it about black holes and breaches and whatnot that make it possible for one to slide into another world? And… Dah, why bother? I could spend all night trying to make sense of the huge gaps in logic “The One” suffers from, but I’ll sum them up as such: it’s a STOOPID movie! TV writers James Wong and Glen Morgan’s screenplay is an astonishing achievement in the field of mediocre, pseudo sci-fi writing. Monkeys could come up with less leaky concepts!

One might suggest that this being a Jet Li action film, the plot doesn’t matter. Well, if there was 10 minutes of it and then 80 of badass kung-fu, I might fall for it. But this is a movie in which the fights are few and far between, and in the meantime we have to sit through scene after scene of exposition hogwash debited dead serious by really bad actors. Delroy “Mr. Potato Head” Lindo embarrasses himself as a Multiverse cop with incomprehensible motivation paired with Jaston Statham, who commits an even more obnoxious, unconvincing non-performance as his idiotic, “procedure is bullshit” partner. Worst still is the tacked on, ultra cheesy and derivative love story with Carla Gugino.

You just know that “The One” was green-lighted just for this pitch, “Jet Li against Jet Li”. Then why did they have to bury this geeky thrill into retarded inter-dimensional nonsense? It does lead to some tasty eye candy, I’ll grant that much. Wong (who directed his script) does have some visual flair. There are a few pretty cool scenes in which one of the Jet Lis does some superhuman stuff, like killing guys four times before they hit the ground or using motorcycles like fly swappers. Wong rips off “The Matrix”‘s signature bullet-time shots, but it’s used effectively. Yet as stated, there isn’t enough action in the film to compensate for the utter dullness of its plot.

Like Wong’s other superficially well crafted movie “Final Destination”, “The One” turns out to be a confused, shallow, pointless mess. Even the initially cool fighting gets repetitive, and the climactic Li-on-Li showdown is a big letdown, with a lot of distracting camera trickery but very little actual physical prowess. What’s cool about Jet Li is that he’s this little, harmless looking fella but when he gets mad, he can fight like a god. Smacking a lot of special effects over this can be nice, but not when it overshadows what Li does best. “The One” is a must-miss, unless you’re a diehard Jet Li fan. Even then, you might be better off not seeing him in a film so bad even The Rock turned it down.