Volume 95, Issue 37

Wednesday, November 7, 2001
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Gin Game a stacked success

Jet Li hits the screen with force in The One

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern too much for cast to handle

Disc of the Week

Emergency - Hermits on the loose

Jet Li hits the screen with force in The One

The One

Jet Li, Delroy Lindo

Directed By: James Wong

Four stars (out of five)

By Grant Donaldson
Gazette Staff

Jet Li kills himself 123 times, becoming stronger, faster and smarter each time, until he is finally brought to justice – by himself.

Sound confusing?

Welcome to the Multiverse, an existence made up of parallel universes and the backdrop for James Wong's new action film, The One.

The One is the story of Yulaw (Jet Li), an ex-Multiverse authority who discovered he gains superhuman powers by jumping from universe to universe, murdering alternate versions of himself.

Two years and 123 counts of murder later, Yulaw has but one version of himself left to kill before becoming a god.

Gabe (Jet Li), another version of Yulaw, is a Los Angeles police officer residing in a universe intended to represent our own.

With help from Multiverse authorities, Roedecker (Delroy Lindo) and Funsch (Jason Stratham), Gabe must stop Yulaw from becoming "The One."

Yulaw is identical to Gabe and possesses powers that make him nearly omnipotent – but the effects of the Multiverse on a single remaining version of a person are unknown, so killing Yulaw is out of the question.

After a number of computer-enhanced fights and untimely deaths, The One ends with a climactic martial arts battle between a pair of Jet Li's.

By casting Jet Li in multiple roles and spending big bucks on special effects, James Wong clearly placed plot and acting talent very low on his priorities for this film.

However, the realization the majority of the cast couldn't act their way out of a paper bag really makes no difference in this action-packed spectacular.

From the start, Wong dazzles the audience with an array of different special effects that make The Matrix look like a puppet show. Using computers to vary the speed of action in battle scenes allows the audience to get a better look at the lightening quick martial arts techniques and turns the scenes into a roller coaster of action.

Even in the non-electronically enhanced fight scenes, Wong still manages to keep the viewer riveted using the right mix of sounds, explosions and hard, fast music.

But if you're a fan of the natural skill that has made Li famous, fear not – you won't be disappointed. The final battle uses minimal special effects, relying instead on the dizzyingly-quick fists and feet of this martial arts genius.

It's refreshing no real effort was put into making the script sound more intelligent than it actually is. The lack of pointless attempts to be witty and profound gives the impression James Wong set out to make a visually stimulating film and understood the desired effect of an action film is only diluted by attempting to make it something it isn't.

If you're looking for a film to stimulate your mind, look elsewhere, but if you want to be genuinely entertained by an hour and a half of mind-blowing effects and non-stop, edge-of-your-seat action, The One will live up to its name.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001