Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger
Starring: Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Jason Statham, Delroy Lindo, Mark Borchardt
Director: James Wong
Jet Li stars twice in this sci-fi adventure that involves parallel universes and martial arts action.
Li stars twice as he plays both the hero and the bad guy. As Gabriel the bad guy, he travels through portals from one universe to another killing off his parallel selves becoming stronger with each kill. If he wipes out all of his other selves throughout the 123 known universes in the multiverse he will become ‘The One’ and be ultimately powerful although no-one has discovered what will actually happen if he succeeds.
With one final version of himself left he has almost achieved his goal but just as he has become more powerful with each kill, so has Gabe his remaining parallel self. Gabe exists in our universe where the multiverse has not yet been discovered and doesn’t know why he is getting stronger or why his ‘double’ is trying to kill him.
Additionally Gabriel, the bad Li, is being pursued by special police from his own universe who may not get the job done by protecting Gabe and capturing Gabriel but simply by killing them both.
If this all seems a little confusing just think of THE ONE as being a cross between HIGHLANDER and the SLIDERS tv series. In fact the ideas behind the film remind me so much of HIGHLANDER, particularly the TV series, I kept expecting to see Adrian Paul jump out of the shadows and chop someone’s head off with a sword.
The story was written by James Wong, who also directed and Glen Morgan, who was also the producer of X-Files fame and more recently the film FINAL DESTINATION. Yet in spite of the close similarities I have mentioned it’s still a very enjoyable movie and the effects used when moving to a parallel universe certainly have a much higher budget than on SLIDERS.
Li’s martial arts scenes are of course superb and his portrayal of both the good and bad guy is quite credible. Jason Statham as one of the cops from a parallel universe also turns in a good performance.
If the film were a little more original and didn’t rip off HIGHLANDER quite as much, which is such a well known franchise, it would have been far more credible as a big sci-fi picture. In a shootout with Li’s last movie KISS OF THE DRAGON it just doesn’t score quite as highly but it’s still got a lot going for it and is a good piece of escapism.