THE ONE (2001)

Directed By: James Wong 
Written By: James Wong &Glen Morgan 
Cinematography By: Robert McLachlan 
Editor: James Coblentz 


Cast: Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo, Jason Statham, Dylan Bruno, James Morrisson, Dean Norris 


This movie postulates what if there is more than one universe. And that all of these universes are held together by one single stream of energy and that energy is equally distributed to every living in each universe and if one of these beings die, that energy is reallocated equally to each other surviving member. And with each allocation, a person becomes stronger. Now one universe has master the ability of crossing into another universe, and a man named Shulaw who believes that if he can kill all of his counterparts, he will become invincible, but there are those who believe that it might have detrimental effects, so try and stop him. Unfortunately, he just has one more person to kill, Gabe Law, but the officers follow Shulaw but Shulaw has committed some crimes and Gabe is accused and is wanted. But Gabe discovers that he has changed and only wants to kill Shulaw not realizing what could happen.

Even for experienced writer-directors James Wong and Glenn Morgan who were also showrunners for THE X-FILES, this film feels especially weak for a science-fiction tale though I realize it is more action. That element could have been played up more. I am not even blaming the lackluster effects. It’s just that everything about this film feels uninspired.
This is a film I have seen beige and pretty much forgotten about until I re-watched it recently and all the old feelings and impressions came rushing back.

It feels uninspired though it takes elements from a bunch of different sci-fi films it never settles to use any of those inspirations to come up with spent anything different and original. I can accept that.

It also seems like a film where the directors were either fans or in awe of the star of the film Jet-Li and seem to just hang back on film ad let him do what he does best. Which would be fine of hey a least set him up with scenes that were somewhat Interesting and set up the action so that we can be amazed by his skills.

For the martial arts aficionados: Jet Li uses two distinct kung fu styles when portraying Gabe and Yulaw. The evil Yulaw uses Xingyi Quan, or “Mind-Form Fist” (loosely translated). As can be seen, when he is training, it is a very linear, offensive style. Gabe on the other hand practices Bagua Zhang, or the “Eight Trigrams Palm”. It is characterized by open palm fighting, with circular footwork. Both styles are two of the three main “internal” styles of Chinese kung fu – the third being Taiji Quan (Tai Chi).

The film LETHAL WEAPON 4 did it and look at how. Underwhelming that film was. He only played a supporting part and amazed audiences with his martial arts skills so much that soon after he was making film after film in the United States though he Barry spoke any English and most of those films while disappointing at least knew how to use him to his advantage and have at least one memorable scene with him.

This is a shame as Jet-li never really found his niche in America sure he starred In many American films though he never found a project that really defined him nor pinpointed his skills. None were truly showcases or even highlights. They all looked kind of like bargain-basement productions and paired him with a musician of some kind. They also seemed more to advertise him to more of an urban audience. (CRADLE TO THE GRAVE, ROMEO MUST DIE) Though usually, the films were multiracial. Though the films he made just as always from overseas were usually excellent to passable (HERO, FEARLESS)

This film feels like it could have been written for any action star. To use their skills in the role only here it happened to be martial arts. Truly this could have started anyone that is how much the lead character and the villain have no real personality or general-purpose other than to fill out their roles and work within the mechanics of the film.

When Dwayne Johnson’s’ The Rock’ was attached to a star, this film was known as The Rock Movie. When he left to work on THE MUMMY RETURNS, it was listed for a short while as Untitled Sci-Fi Project, and when Jet Li came aboard, it became The One. Now I will admit I can be a snob and at times hard on the action, that might be because growing up with action films I grew used to them and I just can’t take the run of the mill. There must be something special or some kind of passion about the film for me I appreciate it. Even of the film is lackluster there must be something in it even iconic that might bring me memories of yesteryear ones. This one though truly feels like a waste of time and talent. That seemed doomed from the beginning.

Skip it

 Grade: F

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