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Movie Review

Some villains want to rule the world. Others, the universe. In the sci-fi/martial arts actioner The One, Gabriel Yulaw (Li) seeks to become godlike and conquer the multiverse.

It seems ours is just one of at least 123 parallel universes, each containing a counterpart for every human being. Another you. They all fulfill different destinies in their own unique environments. Aware that an alter ego’s death redistributes that person’s energy among the surviving lookalikes, the evil Gabriel has been jumping from one astral plane to another, murdering other Gabes and gaining superhuman power. Pursued by special agents committed to maintaining order in the multiverse, he has just one more twin to eliminate before becoming "The One."

Gabe (also played by Li) is a tough yet tender L.A. cop and a loving husband. He knows nothing of multiple universes, but learns fast when his dark twin targets him with Terminator-like tenacity. It doesn’t help that he’s on the run, blamed for Gabriel’s crimes. Bruce Lee meets The Matrix when the rivals finally face off.

This is a very violent film. Bodies pile up. But because the killings are relatively bloodless, and the action and hand-to-hand combat feel like a glorified video game, it skirted an R rating. Audiences also encounter about two dozen profanities, a few sexual references and subtle nods to Eastern religion.

Even so, The One isn’t all bad. It makes a clear distinction between good and evil, presents an engaging moral conundrum and validates marriage. Sadly, it’s a black hole of foul language, brutality and—for thinking viewers—flimsy logic.

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Jet Li as Gabriel Yulaw/Lawless; Delroy Lindo as MVA Agent Harry Roedecker; Carla Gugino as T.K. Law/Massie Walsh; Jason Statham as MVA Agent Evan Funsch


James Wong ( )


Columbia TriStar



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Bob Smithouser

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