Movie Reviews: The One




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     Columbia (80 min.)
     A dangerous villain who travels through parallel universes to gain energy and power.
     Jet Li, Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo, Jason Statham
Bottom Line:


My favorite scene in "The One," the new kick 'em apart Jet Li sci-fi martial-arts action-flick, is when the theater lights come on and "The End" appears on the screen. OK, I lied. That's my second favorite. My favorite scene is when Delroy Lindo comes out of a gas station and asks Li why he kicked the station's billboard sign down. (You'd have to see the movie to really appreciate the irony of the shtick.)

And that's the only clever scene the film has to offer. The rest of the movie is just, "Hey, look what we can do with computers and special-effects, and charge the public $8 bucks to see it!"

In short, "The One" is an 80 minute excuse to have a martial-arts demonstration punctuated by blaring heavy metal and techno-rock music. It's a homage to MTV, pop-culture and credence that anyone with enough money can cast an actor more wooden than Jean-Claude Van Damme, plug in a lame plot about multi-dimension travel and get away with it.

It would have been better for the filmmakers to simply show an 80 minute aerial kickboxing exercise, and call it good.

The premise has Li (and everyone else in the world) existing in more than a hundred similar parallel universes with different hairdos. Li figures out that if he travels to the alternate universes and kill his doubles, he'll acquire their physical and mental powers and become a superhuman. As the film progresses Li's theory seems to work. He's faster than a speeding bullet, toss motorcycles effortlessly at police officers and is able to leap over tall buildings with a single bound. You would think if that were possible (even in his universe), the Lakers or Knicks would sign him immediately to a multi-year contract.

Lindo plays a Multiverse Intelligence agent in hot pursuit of Li. Lindo's job is tricky, because he has to capture Li alive, and at the same time control his hot-headed rookie partner (Jason Statham) who wants to kill Li. The problem is, if they kill Li, it will upset the balance of the universe or something like that.

In a classic confrontation of good verses evil, Li battles his remaining self (he's murdered 132 doubles) atop a giant boiler room's multileveled catwalk in a Star Wars type ending highlighted with showers of rainbow colored sparks and red and yellow fireball explosions.

Great eye candy, but no substance.



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