In “The One,” Jet Li plays duel roles; Gabriel, an L.A. county police officer and Yulaw, a futuristic madman hell-bent on becoming a god. The story is a little bit confusing, so try to keep up. Yulaw used to be some sort of space ranger patrolling the black holes in between universes. Little known fact; there are 124 different universes between if you have a special space travel passport. On one such patrolling mission Yulaw was forced to kill another version of himself. Oh yeah, the most important part; in each of these 124 separate universes there are different versions of you and me.
It boggles the mind. Anyway, after Yulaw kills this version he becomes a little bit stronger and smarter. The smarter part I am not so sure of, but the stronger I accept. Yulaw goes on a killing spree after realizing that he is able to do a little self improvement by offing the other versions of himself and gaining their energy. Still with me? Of course now the other space rangers are after his ass for screwing up the order of things and he must run from them while tracking down his final victim, Gabriel.
While all of this murder and mayhem is happening in space, Gabriel is living his happy good cop life in modern day Los Angeles. He has a beautiful wife, played by Carla Gugino, and loves his job.
Gabriel has noticed a change in himself though. He has been feeling a lot stronger and can answer questions much faster which means that he is now smarter. Get it, they both benefit from the carnage.
This is all leading up to two big fight scenes in which Jet Li shows off his considerable martial arts talent. That Martial Arts talent and the Matrix-ish special effects are the only things that make this movie bearable. Jet Li may have fists of fury, but he can’t act to save his life. The obvious voice over work alone is enough to drive anyone bonkers.
The action sequences in this film are impressive though, especially one in which Yulaw takes one motorcycle in each hand and bashes them around a cop cymbal style. Writer and director James Wong has taken what could have been a big confusing mess of a movie and turned it into a really cool-looking big confusing mess.
Delroy Lindo and Jason Statham play the space rangers working to stop Yulaw from completing his dastardly scheme. Lindo does an excellent job but Statham on the other hand seems to have graduated from the Ryan Phillipe School of acting. Statham delivers serious lines in a peculiar way that makes them sound hilarious. Fortunately for him most of his scenes are with Li so he comes out okay. There are some comedic parts to the film but it is hard to decipher whether they are meant to be funny or not.
The absolute most exciting and noteworthy moment in the film however is the 30 second scene that features Mark Borchardt from “American Movie: The Making of Northwestern.” I was so incredibly happy to see Mark in this movie I almost cried. The fact that he has made it out of his trailer home and into a big Hollywood movie is spectacular. Not because Hollywood is great but because it’s what Mark was dreaming about all those years. A side note for all of the other Mark Borchardt fans out there; the mullet is alive and well and still flowing from the back of his head. He also still has on the same brown glasses he was wearing in “American Movie.” Sometimes consistency is the spice of life.
As for The One, it is not completely without merit. The action part of this action/adventure/sci-fi/thriller is awesome but the acting is absolutely awful. If you want to be impressed by special effects and don’t care about all that lousy talking mumbo jumbo then this is the movie for you. Have fun and don’t get confused.