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THE ONE ($28) is one heck of a fun popcorn movie that combines an interesting science fiction premise with Hong Kong style martial arts action and some terrific special effects. Not only that, THE ONE also combines the talents of Hong Kong cinema’s Jet Li with those of James Wong and Glen Morgan, who’ve had their hands in cool stuff like THE X-FILES TV series and genre flick FINAL DESTINATION. Those who enjoy escapist entertainment that that they can lose themselves in, will find that THE ONE offers rapid-fire pacing that bounces from one action sequence to the next, while sweetening the whole deal with plenty of high tech eye candy.

The plot of THE ONE proceeds from the notion that there is more than one universe, a multiverse if you will, comprised of alternate realities. In some of these alternate universes the technology exists that can bridge these different realities and allow individuals to travel between universes. Jet Li stars in THE ONE as Yulaw, a criminal who has been illegally traveling between universes and killing off his counterparts, which are native to those particular universes. It seems that Yulaw has discovered that he and his counterparts are somehow interconnected, and by killing off the other versions of himself, the life energy of the deceased counterpart is redistributed amongst the others. After killing 123 of his counterparts Yulaw has become incredibly strong, incredibly fast and nearly indestructible. With a single counterpart remaining, Yulaw manages to escape from the multiverse’s equivalent of law enforcement and makes his way to the universe containing the only individual that is keeping him from becoming The One. However, Yulaw finds dispatching his final counterpart more of a challenge than he ever expected.

Although English isn’t Jet Li’s native tongue, he acquits himself well enough in this American movie. He has mastered the language well enough to be convincing in his two primary roles- Yulaw, the obsessed criminal, and Gabe Law, the duty bound police officer and loving husband. While many actors have pulled off multiple roles in films before, THE ONE adds a technical complexity of having Jet Li perform martial arts fights against himself, which are done in a very convincing manner. Although aided by digital effects, different camera angles and editing, Li has to perform both sides of the fight and maintain the different fighting styles of both characters. In addition to leading man Jet Li, THE ONE features a solid supporting cast that includes Carla Gugino, Delroy Lindo, Jason Statham and James Morrison.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made THE ONE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is fairly terrific. Image sharpness, clarity, depth and fine detail are all very strong. Sometimes the extra resolution brings out the limitations in the effects work, but the quick cutting in the film’s editing style minimizes it. Colors are pretty well saturated, plus the flesh tones are highly appealing. Blacks are deep, while the whites are crisp and clean. The picture generally produces smooth contrast, plus a good level of shadow detail. The film elements appear very clean. Grain is modest, but does help maintain a film like presentation.

THE ONE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Just as one would expect from an action/sci-fi, THE ONE features a highly aggressive sound design. The outlying channels are well utilized, with the sound effects swirling, bouncing, and ping-ponging around the soundstage. Fidelity is very strong; the track produces full-bodied music, as well as weighty special effects. The bass channel track adds plenty of percussion and rumble. Voices are cleanly rendered and the dialogue is always easy to understand. French and Portuguese Dolby TrueHD soundtracks are also present, as is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements, which are carried over from the DVD release. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with co-writer/director James Wong, production designer David Snyder, cinematographer Robert McLachlan and editor James Coblentz. This is an interesting commentary track, which offers a good deal of behind-the-scenes detail pertaining to the technical aspects of the production. Featurettes include the following four programs: Jet Li Is The One runs thirteen minutes and is a fairly standard behind-the-scenes featurette that includes movie clips and interviews with the cast & crew. Clocking in at eighteen minutes is Multiverses Create The One, which focuses on the technical challenges of the films stunts and special effects work. Running about five minutes is About Face, which explores the difficulties of having Jet Li fight against himself in the film’s climatic martial arts sequences and the techniques employed to produce two copies of the actor on screen at the same time. The Many Faces Of Jet Li runs about two minutes and looks at the various guises that actor takes on to play his character’s numerous counterparts.

With its mix of action and science fiction, THE ONE is pure popcorn movie entertainment fun. The Blu-ray presentation is pretty sweet and marks a nice upgrade from DVD. Recommended to fans.



The One [Blu-ray] (2001)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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