"Serial Killer Keeps Killing Himself"
What You Need To Know:
There are a number of gaping plot holes in THE ONE that sci-fi and martial arts fans are probably willing to overlook. Equally distracting is all the Eastern religion references about upsetting the balance of life and finding one’s “center,” whatever that means. Thus, despite some positive moral elements, THE ONE has an abhorrent pagan worldview laced with Buddhist concepts and Romantic elements about following your heart. Like many martial arts movies, it would have been better if THE ONE had a theologically pure foundation.
(PaPaPa, FRFR, Ro, BB, Ho, A, LL, VVV, MM, VVV) Pagan worldview laced with Buddhist concepts & Romantic elements where trusting your heart is promoted, plus moral elements with strong themes of personal vengeance where justice is sought, lying is rebuked & marriage is indirectly reinforced; homosexual jokes & values are accepted as normal; 19 obscenities & 2 profanities; violent content includes bloody gun battles, car chases, crashes, explosions, martial arts fighting, vicious executions depicted, fight includes axe as weapon, officer crushed by two motorcycles, another officer’s bones broken cruelly & sadistically, & bodies painfully disintegrate & re-form as they move through wormholes; some cleavage shown but no nudity & no sex; and, revenge, lying rebuked & evil character believes he will become “a god” by killing all of his doubles in other universes.
Science fiction, fantasy and martial arts stories merge, no, collide, to create THE ONE. This is a paint-by-numbers sci-fi action flick that borrows heavily from THE MATRIX, but delivers a less satisfying experience.
Yulaw Lawless (Jet Li) is a former police officer who used to keep the world safe from multiple universe intruders and law-breakers, but, alas, he has become a serial killer in his quest to become THE ONE. Lawless has learned that, if he slips into a parallel universe to kill his other selves, his strength intensifies with amazing power. After 123 of these execution killings, his last target and obstacle is Los Angeles police officer Gabe (also played by Jet Li). Gabe lives in the universe some recognize as earth (or so they think). Later, when L.A. is described as America’s Cleanest City, it’s safe to assume the movie is not set in America anymore.
Lawless is a ruthless and lethal villain, believing that his ultimate transformation will make him a god. Multi-Verse Authority officers, representing a coalition among multiple universes, are in hot pursuit, fearful of the outcome if Lawless becomes THE ONE. They have plans to send him to a bleak penal colony located in the distant Hades Universe. Sending him there would work out nicely for a sequel. Now, if only Lawless will go peacefully ….
Meanwhile, Gabe grapples with the concept of a look-alike assassin and his own growing super-strength. The movie doesn’t explain, however, why unlimited dimensions appear to exist, but there are only 125 versions of the Jet Li character. This is just one of a number of gaping plot holes that sci-fi and martial arts fans are probably willing to overlook. Equally distracting is all the Eastern religion references about upsetting the balance of life and finding one’s “center,” whatever that means. The movie’s pagan worldview also includes some Romantic notions about following your heart.
Gabe’s wife, T.K. (Carla Gugino), wrings her hands sufficiently and looks on sweetly with the obligatory tender scenes. The director, not content with his adrenaline-pumping action scenes, pours on the heavy metal soundtrack as thick as molasses. Technological advancements do, in fact, enhance the plot in the beginning, but the repeated slow-motion action scenes primarily remind the audience that THE ONE is a poor imitation of THE MATRIX. Still, for those who can’t get enough of the affable Jet Li on screen, it must be gratifying to see him portraying two characters, and then to see them fight each other.
In touch with the pulse of a young generation, THE ONE presents an impressive and technically-savvy montage of choreographed fight scenes, but, like most martial arts movies, it would have been better if it had a more theologically pure foundation.