The One

2001, Movie, PG-13, 80 mins


Not a video game, but an incredible simulation of one trying to pass itself off as a movie. We may think there's only one universe, advises a lengthy pre-title introduction, but we're wrong. We inhabit but a tiny corner of the 125-realm multiverse. The inhabitants of some universes are aware that there are others, some aren't. But there are versions of each and every person in any given world scattered throughout the others, all connected by a common energy stream. In his home universe, Gabriel Yulaw (Jet Li) was an agent for the MBI, the Multiverse Bureau of Investigation, a law-enforcement agency dedicated to regulating travel between parallel universes, since unfettered messing around in one alternate universe can have significant and unforeseen ramifications in others. Yulaw broke rank when he decided to eliminate all his alternate selves, suck up their energy and become Yulaw the omnipotent, destroyer of worlds. He's already done away with 123 alter egos when the story opens, and has been hotly pursued for two years by his old partner, Harry Roedecker (Delroy Lindo), and Roedecker's hot-headed new associate, Funsch (Jason Stratham). Yulaw escapes their latest effort to bring him to justice and goes gunning for his last alternate self, good-guy LAPD cop Gabe Yulaw (Li again), who lives in — yes — our universe. Gabe is an all-around stand-up type with a swell wife (Carla Gugino, who also makes a cameo appearance as Yulaw's slutty squeeze), a cute dog and a cat that jumps out of the dark at a tense moment. Now things get sticky: Roedecker and Funsch must protect Gabe and bring Yulaw back alive: If either one dies, the other will become the dreaded One and even if it's the benevolent Gabe, having all that energy concentrated in a single body could disrupt the delicate balance of the multiverse. Backstory out of the way, the movie devolves rapidly into a series of chases, gun fights and martial arts battles, complete with the now de riguer wire work, suspended-motion photography and cheesy CGI effects. Pseudo sci-fi gobbledygook aside, X-Files alumni James Wong and Glen Morgan's script is little more than an excuse for Jet Li to kick his own ass, which he does energetically and often. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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The One
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