One Law for One, One Law for Another
Gabriel Yulaw (Jet Li) is a former MVA agent, a special group who had the ability to travel between the many alternate universes in order to police situations. But it was during one of those ventures into a parallel universe that he discovered that by killing the version of himself in that universe he and all the other versions of him in the other universes became stronger. Despite being arrested Gabriel escaped and has spent the last two years illegally travelling into the alternate universes to kill the other versions of himself in order to gain their power. Now he has one version of himself to kill, police officer Gabe Law (Jet Li) and it is up to MVA agents Roedecker (Delroy Lindo) and Funsch (Jason Statham) to stop him because if he achieves his goal he might become invincible or worse, the universe might collapse. Trouble is for Roedecker and Funsch, how can they be sure they are going after the right version of Yulaw.
"The One" is the sort of movie which if I had come up with the idea for the story I might have been disappointed. And the reason is simple as this set up where we have numerous universes each with different versions of us in them has a lot of potential but this movie is pretty much a vehicle for Jet Li and his particular brand of martial arts action with a dash of Jason Statham in there as well. Now don't get me wrong because as someone who grew up on 80s action movies I still love them and enjoy watching both Jet Li and Jason Statham kick butt, but the potential in the story is lost in favour of the action and to some extent the special effects, trust me you won't fancy an MRI scan after seeing what one of the machines does in this movie.
As such there isn't much else to say about "The One" because all the potential of character confusion, emotional depth and issues of what would happen are pretty much ignored. But we do have the action and this certainly features plenty of trademark Jet Li snappy moves. We also have the combo of Statham and Lindo as two tough talking MVA agents on the mission to stop Yulaw and yes this is a movie from back when Statham had hair. And on top of that there is Carla Gugino bringing plenty of appeal to her part but her character along with every one else in this movie has no depth and as such is forgettable as is the movie.
What this all boils down to is that "The One" is simply an old fashioned action movie which trades on Jet Li's style of martial arts action and if you are an action movie fan it is entertaining. But at the same time it also seems like it wastes a decent story idea, using it as just a vehicle for action and effects.