Featuring some pretty novel ideas for that time, The One is a fun blend of science fiction and action. It clearly borrowed a lot from The Matrix but it has a simple and elegant story that just works. And we find out all about it in the opening scene. There are multiple universes and this guy is trying to kill every version of himself in order to become The One. Of course, he knows martial arts so the fights will be pretty exciting although I didn’t like the whole “flying through the air” thing. It’s not as pronounced as in Asian martial arts movies but I would still like to see something more down-to-Earth (pun intended).
Now, under further scrutiny, this concept of getting stronger as there are few of you remaining in existence falls apart. However, this is not some brainy science fiction masterpiece but a fun action movie with some futuristic elements. So, the whole thing works surprisingly well in that regard. After all, you’re here to see all the cool fight scenes, shootouts, and explosions. On top of all that, Jet Li is super strong and superfast. This allowed for some pretty eye-popping combat. Apart from our main star, we also have Jason Statham, Delroy Lindo, and Carla Gugino. So, the cast of The One is pretty strong and diverse.
I remember watching this movie back in the day and being blown away by its surprisingly metal soundtrack. I still can’t get over the fact that I actually liked Disturbed at one point in my life. Drowning Pool and Papa Roach are also here to complete the picture of a nu-metal at its peak. It’s funny to think just how much the music can change the mood of a scene and “pump you up”. The story unfolds at a pretty solid pace and you won’t be bored watching this movie, that’s for sure.
Gabriel Yulaw was once a good guy working for the MultiVerse Authority. He’s now the evilest and dangerous man in the entire multiverse. Two agents in charge of capturing him, Roedecker and Funsch, have just one more chance to capture Yulaw. Because, if he kills just one more version of himself, in our universe, he will become The One. And no one knows what’s going to happen then. The entire universe might vanish or Yulaw could become a living God…
We shouldn’t forget that The One was a pretty big movie with a budget of a whopping $50 million. This allowed for some truly stunning special effects where our main man Jet Li is dodging bullets left and right. And since I watched this movie in 2022, I must admit that the scene where Li is fighting the guards in the garage still looks amazing. I really don’t know how they made it look so cool. However, you should know that there are also a couple of bizarrely awkward scenes that look like they came straight from some B movie. Luckily, the pacing is so fast that we will zip right through them and onto the next swanky new fight.
The One is much better than TimeCop starring Jean-Claude Van Damme although that’s more of a comedy than an action movie. And I also have to mention another one of his classics, Double Impact from 1991 where he plays twin brothers out for revenge. There’s something about these martial arts movies where one person plays two roles. The only question is how do we explain the whole thing? With the running time of just eighty minutes it will provide you with enough entertainment and nostalgia to make you smile while the credits are rolling. And that final scene is something else. We will keep seeing it in many science fiction movies to come.
Finally, I want you to pay attention to the different fighting styles good Jet Li and bad Jet Li use. The bad one uses Xingyi Quan or Mind-Form Fist, a very offensive style of combat. The good one uses Bagua Zhang or the Eight Trigrams Palm, a much calmer and defensive style.
Director: James Wong
Writers: Glen Morgan, James Wong
Cast: Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo, Jason Statham, Carla Gugino, James Morrison, Tucker Smallwood
Fun Facts: LAPD officers in the Anubis Universe are all carrying M4A1 carbine assault rifles with the M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System. In 2001, this was an experimental weapon being developed for the United States Army by C-More Systems. They borrowed the real guns for the production of this movie.