The One

Rating 15; Stars – Jet Li and Jet Li; Director – James Wong. 1hr50


It’s ‘The Matrix’ crossed with ‘Highlander’. That pretty much sums up this sci-fi / martial arts combo. ‘The One’ involves Jet Li playing both versions of ‘Gabe Yulaw’, who are from different parallel universes, the only two of themselves left alive. Confused already? Well it’s Matrix-esque in its mind-boggling capacity but the plot is clearly derived from the old classic Highlander films. ‘Yulaw’ is attempting to eliminate all other copies of himself in other universes to gain supreme strength and become ‘The One’. He has one target left. ‘Gabe’ is unaware of all this until the appearance of his double…and the martial arts combat ensues.

The special effects in the fight scenes are quite stunning, despite really spoiling the prowess of Li, which is evident on the odd moment when there is no slow-mo bullet dodging or fast-forwarded running and hitting. The effects resemble the Matrix a little too effectively, although the general attitude in the film industry as a whole these days seems to be ‘we have the technology so let’s use it as much as possible’. There’s a particularly impressive long fight scene enhanced by the shower of sparks in which it’s carried out, and the whole film makes use of the music background to great affect. The only shame about the film is that the characters are underplayed in favour of the special effects. Delroy Lindo and Jason Statham, playing multiverse policing agents, unfortunately get very little chance to explore their roles. A bit more depth would have improved the film no end but nevertheless it is a visually impressive, gripping story well worth making the effort to see.  ¬¬¬¬

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