Review: “The One”

Direct-to-video trash, “The One” is one of those high-concept projects which in two-sentence form on paper sounded great but in reality is a stinker. This comes as a surprise as the movie is from the minds of Glenn Morgan & James Wong, two guys responsible for some of the best episodes of “The X-Files” and the surprisingly good teen thriller “Final Destination” (then again they’re also behind the woeful “Space: Above and Beyond”).

After an opening sequence which basically steals the narration from “Sliders” (a show with the same concept but better characters, at least initially), we’re informed of the multiverse theory about parallel universes of which there’s a plot-convenient number of 124 in existence (the original theory said the number was infinite). Don’t let the high-tech talk fool you though, there’s zero depth to this 80-minute thriller so no need to worry about being lost in technobabble.

No need to worry about character development either as we follow ‘Bad Jet’ aka. Yulaw who is killing his other selves in the alternate universes in order to achieve what he hopes will be his becoming a God. As his victims die, he starts taking on their energy and thus develops superpowers of strength and agility (following this logic, most nursing homes should be filled with 80-year olds who can bend steel). Of course these superpowers involve lots of slow down bullet-time effects and gravity defying kung fu action – sound familiar?

In fact the film is best described as “exposition, Matrix-clone fight, exposition, another Matrix-clone fight, bad attempt at character development, the gay guy from Melrose Place getting hit with a motorcycle, exposition, and a half hour more of fighting in an exploding power factory” – thats right folks, it’s hard to get more unoriginal than this. Hell, the mano-e-mano fight at the end between the two Jet Li’s (both dressed identically) is made all the more convenient to watch by having the bad guy unexplainably ripping off his jacket so you know which one is which.

Jet Li’s last film “Kiss of the Dragon” was pretty weak but the fights at least felt real and were well filmed. Here, everything is so CG manipulated its hard to be impressed as most of it looks fake. Other actors like Gugino, Lindo and Jason Statham are wasted entirely in this (Statham got to show off more talent in “Ghosts of Mars” than this which gives you an idea). The last line of the film is hilarious and the FX are impressive, I’ll give it that but otherwise this is a dead weight.