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THE ONE (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 20, 2009 by  



“An action-packed sci-fi thriller from Jason Wong (Final Destination) starring action stars Jet Li and Jason Statham.  Non stop action that looks and sounds great on Blu-ray!

Images courtesy of © 2001 Revolution Studios Distribution Company, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: THE ONE

DURATION: 87 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Dolby TrueHD

RATED: PG-13

COMPANY: Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: March 24, 2009

Directed by James Wong

Produced by Glen Morgan and Steven Chasman

Written by Glen Morgan and James Wong

Executive Producers: Todd Garner, Charles Newirth, Lata Ryan, Greg Silverman

Director of Photography:  Robert McLachlan, C.S.C.

Production Designer: David L. Snyder

Edited by James Coblentz

Music by Trevor Rabin

Music Supervision by Happy Walters

Costume Designer: Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko

Casting by John Papsidera, C.S.A.

Martial Arts Choreography by Cory Yuen

Cast:

Jet Li as Gabe Law, Gabriel Yulaw and Lawless

Jaston Statham as MVA Agent Evan Funsch

Delroy Lindo as MVA Agent  Harry Roedecker/Gas Station Attendant

Carla Gugino as T.K. Law/Massie Walsh

James Morrison as LAPD Officer Bobby Aldrich/’A’ World Inmate #1

Dylan Bruno as Yates

Richard Steinmetz as D’Antoni

In a stunning dual role, international action star Jet Li portrays Gabriel Yulaw, a police officer confronted with a sinister form of himself escaped from an advanced, parallel universe and intent on killing Gabriel. His alter ego’s hunt culminates in a fateful battle between good and evil that changes Gabriel’s perception of reality and forces him to examine the evil hidden within himself. The One features riveting martial arts and innovative special effects.

“THE ONE” is an action-packed, sci-fi film from director/writer James Wong (“Final Destination”, “X-Files” and co-written by writing partner Glen Morgan.

The film kicks off with a man named Lawless (Jet Li) being escorted out of prison by the police.  As they are about to board a vehicle, immediately all the police are taken out and Lawless is killed.  The person responsible is a former MVC (MultiVerse) agent named Yu-Law and immediately he is chased by MV (Multiverse) Agents Harry Roedecker (Delroy Lindo) and Evan Funsch (Jaston Statham).

The MV agency is an organization that polices inter dimensional travel (through detecting wormhole openings) and prevents people from a certain dimension of crossing over to another.

The agents go in pursuit to catch Yu Law and eventually capture him.  Immediately, Law is convicted for murdering nearly all of his multiverse counterparts and is sentenced to life in Hades  (A prison in the multiverse which is for the worst offenders).

Yu-Law is a man who has been corrupted by power and when he first killed his counterpart accidentally and received his power, Law has been thirsty for more.  In fact, each time he has killed his alternate dimension version, the power of that dead counterpart has gone back to him.  Thus giving him supernatural strength and fighting abilities.

Yu begs his former friend and agent Harry Roedecker that he wants to kill just one more counterpart, his last, that lives on the planet Earth.  But of course, no one is crazy to let him go.

Consumed by his power and his escalated ego, Yu is quite confident he will escape.  His girlfriend/wife from his dimension, Massie Walsh (Carla Gugino) sets up an explosive which Yu Law is able to free himself and escape and immediately jumps to present time in the Planet Earth to murder his counterpart Gabe Law.

Gabe is a dedicated police officer and similar to the situation of Lawless where they are escorting a villain to a van, they are immediately attacked.  Gabe sees the attacker who happens to look like him and Gabe goes in pursuit and gets hurt but luckily he had a bullet proof vest on and also the assistance of the MV agents Roedecker and Funsch who arrived just in time to go after Yu-Law.

After a confrontation between the two men, Gabe goes home and tells his wife T.K. (Anna Gugino) that he saw his men attacked and it was him.  Of course, his wife may think it may be related to what happened hours earlier and wants her husband to get checked by a doctor and get his brain scanned just in case there was some injury.

While getting checked, unbeknownst to Gabe and his wife is that Yu Law is at the hospital and prepared to kill him.

This leaves to another battle between Gabe and Yu Law (who happen to be wearing the same outfit) and thus Gabe’s fellow officers think that Gabe has done something terrible and the police go on pursuit against Gabe.

The film becomes a cat and mouse game as the MV agents go after Yu Law and Yu Law goes after Gabe.

“THE ONE” is an interesting sci-fi, action film with plenty of in-your-face gun battles, martial arts fighting, special effects and more.   It’s also the first film to have both Jet Li and Jason Statham (before he became a mega action star) together.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“THE ONE” is a pretty cool film that utilizes a lot of colors and looks very good on Blu-ray.  The overall tone of the film focuses a lot on darker tones but this is an action film that thrives on High Definition.  Despite the older commentary on the disc with the Director of Photography saying that the film was very close to film that was featured on DVD, I would imagine if that commentary was revisited, Robert McLachlan would say that via 1080p, “THE ONE” looked fabulous via HD.

As for the audio, with non-stop action, you expect nothing less from HD audio and the film sounds very good via Dolby TrueHD.  Great use of sound from all channels, from gun shots, special effects of the Multiverse and even the hard rocking music, this is one film that was meant to be seen and heard on High Definition.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

For the special features, the following are included:

  • DIRECTOR AND CREW COMMENTARY –  A commentary featuring Director James Wong, Production Designer David L. Snyder, Director of Photography Robert McLachlan and Editor James Coblentz.  The commentary was used in the original DVD release and everyone commented on lighting (and paint colors) and trying to create different worlds.  Commentary on the coordinated fight scenes, computer editing and how viewers compared “THE ONE” with the Matrix.  Also, how they felt about the poor critic reviews and how audiences enjoyed it.
  • Making-of: JET LI IS “THE ONE” – A 13-minute featurette featuring interviews with Director James Wong, co-writer Glen Morgan and the talents in the film.  The featurette goes into how everyone felt about working together and with Jet Li.
  • Multiverses create “The One” – A four minute featurette on creating the final fight scene and working with fight choreographer Cory Yuen.
  • About Face Featurette –  A five minute featurette on how the fight scenes were created.  How can Jet Li find himself?  And how can they make it look realistic.  So what they had to do is have two people fighting each other and then using modern technology by using face replacement and testing out split screen shots.
  • The Many Faces of Jet Li – A two minute featurette about the various faces of Jet Li (the various counterparts from different dimensions).  Jet Li had to wear a variety of costumes and disguises to create many versions of himself and be photographed for the scene showing the various counterparts that Yu Law murdered.
  • Animatic Comparison – A near two minute featurette about using CG animatics for sort of storyboards for various fight scenes.

“THE ONE” is an action-packed thriller that focuses cool CG special effects and awesome fight choreography.

If anything, it’s quite simplistic in storyline but with a pretty good concept of separate dimensions, multiverse, etc.

Originally, the film was to star the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (who chose to be on “Scorpion King” instead) and revolve around his trash talking, bad boy mentality.   And thus, with the Rock pulling out, Jet Li filled the role.

I love Jet Li films in Hong Kong and a few in the US but around this time, his English was much better but the writers had to accommodate his character.  I would have love to see more relationship and chemistry with his character Gabe and his wife T.K. (Carla Gugino) and at times, I wondered if there would be some sort of romantic scene and not the typical hug but yet you get the hug.

Also, watching Jet Li’s character blasting hard rock, it was a bit hard to imagine.  Actually, outside of period-based films from Hong Kong, aside from “Lethal Weapon 4”, it’s so hard to picture Jet Li as a villain because you’re so used to seeing him play the action hero.  It’s like trying to picture Jackie Chan as a villain in the film, it’s too hard to even imagine.

But for an action-based film that doesn’t focus too much on it’s overall plot but just good pacing, special effects and getting to the action at all times, I enjoyed the film for that.

In the commentary, the crew talked about reports of audiences jumping up and all applauding the film, I can tell you from first hand experience of watching a Jet Li film specifically in areas with a high Asian population, I’ve seen the audience go nuts and scream in excitement like it was a major sports game.  It was a pretty awesome experience to see the whole audience go crazy like that and it does happen for Jet Li films.

Jet Li is a true action star and it was great for the film to focus primarily on action and to have Jason Statham (before he became a major action star) was a plus.  After watching the film and seeing how the writers had to mold the story to Jet Li as an actor, minimal dialogue and focus on his talent as an action star, I’m sure it was a challenge especially since the film was designed for “The Rock”.  But overall, it was interesting to see another side of Jet Li (especially seeing his different multiverse characters).

With that being said, “THE ONE” was an enjoyable straight forward action film.  For those who love constant action, martial arts and gun fights.  It’s one of those type of films and I happen to enjoy watching those films ever so once in awhile.   A film that just constantly feeds you action and just enjoying the martial arts choreography (from world renown martial arts fight choreographer Cory Yuen known for the choreography on many of Jet Li’s Hong Kong films and Jason Statham’s “Transporter” films).

Anyone wanting more than that, especially for a deeper plot and major character development, this is not the film for you.

“THE ONE” is all about non-stop action!






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