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The M.O.W.'s Movie Reviews (333)

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One, The (2001) 
A pretty good sci-fi action movie
2.5/4 stars

"Yulaw" (Jet Li) is a former "MultiVerse Authority (MVA)" officer who became drunk with power when he realized that when one of his parallel counterparts in alternate universes, their energy is distributed to thier counterparts in the parallel universes. Because of this discovery, he has become a mass murderer with super strength and agility. His victims are his parallel counterparts, each living a variation of his life.

After being sentenced to life in the "Hades Universe" for murdering 123 of 124 parallel universe counterparts, he escapes and uses the technology the "MVA" uses to send prisoners to the "Hades Universe" to hunt down his surviving parallel counterpart, a Los Angeles County Sheriff named "George Law" (also played by Li).

Now, "Law" has to clear his name when "Yulaw" leads "Law's" friends/co-workers, and wife (Carla Gugino) to believe that the one they know is suffering from injuries sustained in the counterparts' first encounter that caused him to act out of character. He also has to help an agent of the "MVA" to capture "Yulaw" before he kills "Law" with catastrophic circumstances.

Parallel universes is a plot device used in science-fiction for as long as I have been a fan of the genre, and before I was born. This movie does a fair attempt at showing us the differences between the different universes. It is obvious that the parallel universes that at least "Law" is not from out universe because a news broadcast shown on a television that President George W. Bush is unveiling a plan for Universal Health Care. When we first meet "Yulaw", he goes after a counterpart who is a prisoner in jail in a parallel universe where Al Gore is the US President. This counterpart, also played by Li, is named "Lawless."

There really isn't a lot of sci-fi in this movie when "Law" gets into the picture. Those who go after "Yulaw" carry a high tech pistol and some unique technology, but that's about it. You also get some really wild special effects.

Because of the special effects, this movie has been compared to the much more popular "Matrix" trilogy. You get a couple of effects in this movie that is alot like the ones seen in "The Matrix" movies. One that you will instantly recognize is where "Yulaw" dodges bullets in slow-motion, just like the characters in "The Matrix" movies. However, that is really where the comparisons end.

The fight scenes are fast paced and choreographed nicely. We get a little green screen effect when "Yulaw" and "Law" are fighting where Li's face is placed over the face of a fight double, whose face was painted green for the effect. Speaking of the fight scenes, one way to tell the differences between "Law" and "Yulaw" is their martial arts techniques. Li uses a different martial art for each character.

When it comes to wardrobes, the "MVA" agents are the only ones who have unique clothing. Their body armor is pretty futuristic looking, yet look like what we see police wear when the news covers what they do.

There are some good performances in this film. Li easily stands out due to being two different, yet similar characters. However, I think Li was a lot better as "Yulaw" than he was playing "Law." Supporting characters are pretty good as well, but aren't really developed.

Another thing that wasn't developed well was the relationship between "TK" (Gugino) and "Law." I felt their relationship was more boyfriend-girlfriend than a married couple, which is evident when "Law" is asked to take off his wedding ring in the hospital when he is preparing for an MRI test. In fact, the entire supporting cast is under developed. I also didn't really like how the majority of the hunt for "Yulaw" was done by "Law" and one of the "MVA" agents (Delroy Lindo) would randomly show up to aid "Law" to get out of trouble.

The soundtrack is pretty good in this movie. Most of the songs are popular rock and heavy metal tunes of the time. But, in a pretty humorous scene where "Yulaw" is trying to find something to listen to on the radio in the vehicle he stole to get away, there are some classic tunes by Tony Orlando and Dawn and other 1950's -- 1960's songs.

I would probably recommend this as a rental if your first few choices are unavailable. Or, if you got some time to waste, check this out on HBO or another premium channel.


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