Andy's Anachronisms
Time Travel Film Reviews

Poster for THE ONE
The One (2001)
Stealing the power of the universes one by one

Directed by James Wong

Written by Glen Morgan


Jet Li is police officer Gabriel Yulaw who is confronted by a sinister doppelganger from a parallel universe intent on killing all other versions of himself. Gabriel's evil twin from another world grows stronger with each version of himself that he kills and Gabriel is the final one.


Originally conceived as a vehicle for WWF wrestling star The Rock, the film was reworked to suit Jet Li's martial arts style and Buddhist beliefs after The Rock signed on to star in The Mummy Returns.

Director James Wong also co-wrote the script with creative partner Glen Morgan. The pair last teamed up for the movie Final Destination (2000) with Wong acting as director and Morgan penning the script. Prior to their turn in movies Morgan and Wong have worked as scribes on such television series as The X-Files, Millennium, Space Above and Beyond, and 21 Jump Street to name a few.

Borrowing liberally from a variety of SF themes including evil twins and parallel worlds, The One fails miserably to blend the elements into an entertaining and engaging story. Director James Wong and his scriptwriter Glen Morgan sacrifice any semblance of a plot in order to use the movie to showcase Jet Li and his martial art skills. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of Jet Li and loved him in such movies as Black Mask, but The One is a Hollywood action movie complete with endless car chases and reams of bad dialogue. Just watching Jet Li say "I am not your bitch! You are all my bitches!" in response to a character uttering the cliched "He's got a real purdy mouth." was enough to make me shake my head in disbelief.

The premise itself is an interesting one and the story leading up to the movie sounds intriguing, but the 90 minutes of screen time devoted to this final confrontation by the last two Gabriel Yulaws from parallel universes comes off as a weak clone of the Highlander movie. Several of the elements touched upon in the story are fascinating and worthy of further exploration, but ignored completely. The ever calm and in control Roedecker (Delroy Lindo) and the hot headed Funsch (Jonathan Statham) as the agents responsible for capturing the evil Yulaw are by far the most interesting characters in the movie, but we are never given any insight into their background.

With The One the suspense never materializes and the laughable ending undermines what little excitement Director James Wong manages to create with his action sequences. I can't believe I ever doubted going into this movie that the goody-goody Gabriel Yulaw would have a happy ending and the evil Yulaw would get his just desserts.

A disappointing waste of a film about alternate universes, The One is little more than a blend of Time Cop meets Highlander and you'd probably be better off renting either of those titles instead.

Review Posted 2002-01-06

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