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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The One (2001)

The One (2001)

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Released 2-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Jet Li Is "The One"
Featurette-Multiverses Create "The One"
Featurette-About Face
Featurette-The Many Faces Of Jet Li
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The 6th Day;A Knight's Tale;Hollow Man;The Thirteenth Floor
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Animatic Comparison
Easter Egg-Jet Li on his first time in America, Getting into movies.
Easter Egg-Mark Borchardt was in THE ONE with JET LI
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 83:44 (Case: 87)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:47) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By James Wong

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jet Li
Delroy Lindo
Carla Gugino
Jason Statham
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $36.95 Music Trevor Rabin

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French Audio Commentary
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"What if you discovered the most dangerous man in the universe was you?"

    Yu-Law has just killed himself. He's done it 123 times. Having once been part of the MVA, a dimensional policing authority, Yu-Law (played by Hong Kong and now Hollywood action legend Jet LiLethal Weapon 4: 1998, Romeo Must Die: 1999, Kiss of the Dragon: 2001) is now a renegade illegally travelling between parallel universes and killing his respective counterparts in each of these alternate realities. Each time he kills "himself" in another dimension, the energy of the victim spreads between the remaining counterparts in each of their respective universes, and the more Yu-Law kills, the stronger he gets. Hot on his tail are two MVA officers, Funsch (Jason StathamLock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels:  1998 , Snatch: 2000) and Harry Roedecker (Delroy LindoThe Devils Advocate: 1997, The Cider House Rules:  1999) who finally manage to capture him just after he kills victim number 123. Taken back to his home dimension to stand trial, he is convicted of his numerous killings and illegal dimension travel and sentenced to life without parole in the Hades universe (a sort of penal colony). Before he can be sent to his final place of incarceration, Yu-Law's girlfriend, T.K. (Carla GuginoSpy Kids:  2001) creates a diversion and Yu-Law is able to escape not to the Hades penal colony, but to the universe that holds the last remaining version of himself:  ours. Knowing the final destination of Yu-Law, Funsch and Roedecker follow in the hope that they can recapture him before it's too late.

    Meanwhile, in "our" universe Gabriel Law has been getting stronger and faster as the energies from the various victims of Yu-Law divide equally between the remaining Laws. After thwarting Yu-Law's first attempt to kill Gabe Law, Funsch and Roedecker explain the truth to Gabe and now the race is on to stop the evil Yu-Law in his quest that could not only bring an end to Gabe Law, but to his entire universe!

    This 2001 actioner was originally slated to star The Rock in the lead, but after he was tied into the production of The Mummy Returns: 2001 and The Scorpion King: 2002, another lead had to be found and the task fell to Jet Li. Although the concept of seeing The Rock in this title is intriguing, the choice of Jet Li seems to have been an inspired one as Li excels in the role of the various Laws. As could be expected with a picture such as this, the action is frenetic and fight choreography first rate. While there is some wire work in this feature, it is not overused and instead the real martial arts style of Jet Li is allowed to shine though. This is not as easy as it sounds, as many of the fight scenes are Jet Li vs Jet Li. This is made possible through the use of a body double and some nifty CG face mapping that places the face of Jet Li onto the body double's face. CG is used quite heavily in this feature and some of the special effects are quite spectacular, particularly the fight scenes with Jet Li moving in real time while his victims are tossed and flailed in slow motion to highlight Yu-Law/Gabe Law's superhuman speed.
    One niggling thing about this picture is the fact that while it was shot with the intention of carrying a US R rating, the film was heavily edited down on behest of the studio to make it comply with the lesser PG-13 rating, making the picture a more bankable prospect at the box office. Given this and the director's frequent comment about this in the commentary, a nice touch might have been the inclusion of the original director's cut along with the theatrical version. Admittedly, that is probably too much to ask for with this being the first release of this title and as is the case with films of this type, we are probably destined to see a Special Collectors Edition of this title sometime in the future, possibly when a sequel is made as this film certainly leaves the door open for one.

    When all is said and done, the question is: does this film work? The answer is yes.......mostly. The plot device used by this film will be completely familiar to anyone versed in any of the Star Trek incarnations (as well as the Highlander series) as this scenario has been played out dozens of times, particularly in Star Trek: The Next Generation (and many could argue that Star Trek did a better job). Still, there is always room for the type of film where you just sit back, turn off your brain and enjoy. You'll need to, as otherwise you'll become distracted by the various plot holes and omissions. For example, Yu-Law wants to become "The One", but we are never given any motivation as to why he does it. Sure, you kill all your versions in the multiverse and absorb their energy - but what then? Also, why are there are only 125 versions of the various Laws in this expansive multiverse? This would seem to be a trifling amount if the theories of Stephen Hawking and others are anything to go by. Still, it is understandable that the writers would choose a reduced number, as anything ranging in the thousands or hundreds of thousands would be totally unbelievable, as opposed to just plain unbelievable as we have here. Also missing from the film is more detail on the various parallel universes and the many versions of the Law character which are hinted at at the start and at the very end, but ignored for the most part throughout the main body of the film. This is also understandable due to budget constraints, but still, I as a viewer would like to have seen a bit more. In the end, The One is a fun, fast-moving no-brainer with martial arts master Jet Li in fine form. Definitely worth a look.

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Transfer Quality


     As with most DVDs from Colombia Tristar Home Video, the transfer here is first rate and is in the league of most reference quality discs. There is now a Superbit version of the film as well. The One (Superbit).

    We have on offer here a 16x9 enhanced transfer in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The R1 DVD lists the original aspect ratio as being approximately 2.40:1, but it does seem that 2.35:1 is what is presented.

    The image on this disc is particularly clean and sharp with no visible blur or focus problems evident. Even during the many darker scenes in this movie, shadow detail is fine with everything that should be visible being visible. There is absolutely no low level noise to be seen.

    Colour is used in a very atmospheric manner with the various universes portrayed having their own colour schemes. Despite the quite heavy and colourful lighting, the colour presented on this disc is quite natural and vibrant. The transfer process from film to video is remarked on by the director in the commentary with much care being taken to match the colour and lighting schemes as closely as possible to the original film version.

    Thankfully, MPEG artefacts are nowhere to be seen with this transfer and the picture is always quite clean and clear. Aliasing is very infrequent and is only mildly visible if you look very hard for it. Otherwise, there are no issues in regards to aliasing with this title. The print used is clean to the point of sterility and no film artefacts or grain is to be seen at any time.

    There is a range of subtitles available with the English choice being quite accurate, although not word for word.

    This disc is RSDL-formatted with a layer change at 53:47 during Chapter 19. It is a fairly clean break and not overly distracting.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The quality of the audio transfer is first rate.

    There are three audio tracks available on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, and an audio commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded.

    The dialogue quality of the main feature is perfect with the spoken word by all on-screen always being understandable. Audio sync was perfect with this title at all times.

    The music for this film was composed by popular film composer Trevor Rabin and features the expected blend of traditional orchestral music and some more contemporary rock themes. Despite the occasional poor use of rock music in film soundtracks, this score works well and while not overly memorable, it is in keeping with the tone and style of the picture.

    Many modern action pictures feature aggressive surround mixes and this is no exception. The use of the surround channels is quite pronounced with standout times being at 10:35, 31:05 and 70:30. With the many gun fights, car chases and explosions seen during this film, the surrounds do get a workout whilst never becoming a distraction. They work nicely in concert with the happenings on-screen.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The list of extras for this title is comprehensive and we lack nothing that such a title should offer, with the possible exception of the footage edited from the original (pre theatrical) cut of this film to make the film conform to the US PG-13 rating.

    After the distributor's logos, we are presented with a stylised menu presented in a circular fashion with the menu choices listed around the circle. Our menu choices are:

    Once this menu materializes on screen, it remains static with music from the movie's soundtrack playing in the background. The audio, which is in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded loops every 30 seconds and will do so endlessly if no selection is made. The menu is presented in full frame and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The Scene Selection screens feature four small round portholes featuring video from each of the respective chapters. The images within these portholes is quite small and slightly hard to make out. Also, there are no chapter titles listed with just a number featured in time code fashion (00:00:01, 00:00:02 etc.) under each to guide the viewer to the sequence of the chapters. Music from the soundtrack features in the background in Dolby Digital 2.0 and loops every 30 seconds if no selection is made. The menu is 16x9 enhanced.

    The Audio Setup menu is a static menu featuring two versions of T.K. Law as wallpaper with the choices of English and French on offer. This menu is silent and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The Subtitles menu is another static affair with wallpaper featuring Funsch and Roedecker. Listed as options for subtitles are:

    As stated on this menu, all special features (except trailers) have French subtitles as an option. There is no audio during this menu. It is full screen and 16x9 enhanced.

    The special features list is fairly comprehensive.

Director & Crew Commentary

    This commentary features James Wong-Director, David L. Snyder-Production Designer, Robert McLachlan-Director of Photography and James Coblentz-Editor. This is a very interesting commentary because it not only highlights some of the techniques used in the production of the movie, but also some of the early concepts for the various universes and some of the cuts made to make the film comply with the PG-13 rating. The commentary is very easy to understand with the various contributors spread between the two front speakers. The audio for this feature is in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded. Replaying this feature in ProLogic mode made the dialogue echo quite badly while any sound from the actual film sounded very natural. As such, listening to this feature in straight 2 channel mode is recommended.

Jet Li is The One-Featurette:  13:10

    This is a behind the scenes documentary outlining the concept and style of the film with interviews with all the major participants both in front and behind the camera. Quite interesting and a lot better than some of the offerings on some discs that serve to be no more that extended trailers. This one does inform a little better than might be expected. Some of the interviews are slightly out of focus (especially the ones with Carla Gugino), but this is of little concern here. This feature is presented full frame with no 16x9 enhancement. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

Multiverses Create "The One"-Featurette:  8:49

    This featurette is an extension of "Jet Li is The One" with the attention here being on the various fight scenes and techniques. Interesting, although it could have been included in the previous featurette. This feature is presented full frame and is not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0.

About Face-Featurette:  5:57

    This feature explains some of the interesting face replacement technology used to make it possible for Jet Li to fight himself. Audio for this feature is Dolby Digital 2.0 and the feature is displayed full frame and is not 16x9 enhanced.

The Many Faces of Jet Li:  2:22

    This fun program explains some of the alternate versions of the Law character throughout the multiverse. Some are quite funny, such as La La Law who looks like a character from L.A. Law, and Sven Law, a Nordic version of Jet Li's character. The audio for this feature is Dolby Digital 2.0  and it is presented full frame, non 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailers

    There are 5 theatrical trailers of offer here and these include:


    Selected filmographies are presented for the main contributors to the film. These are for:

Animatic Comparison-Featurette:  1:17

    This features both the animatic (a real-time storyboard sometimes using clay-mation or hand operated puppets or props. In this case, they used a Ken doll) showing the concept and final result of Yu-Law vs the motorcycle cops. The audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0 and there is no 16x9 in this full screen option.

Easter Egg-Featurette:  2:29

    Titled Jet Li On His First Time in America, this is a little aside from Jet on his experiences during his first visit to the US. The second part of the feature is titled Jet Li On Getting Into Movies which details Jet's humble beginnings to his rise to superstardom. To access this hidden track, you select 1 on your remote while on page one of the Special Features menu. Pressing select on the remote will highlight a green man on Jet Li's chest on the wallpaper and begins the featurette. This is presented full frame, non 16x9 enhanced and presents a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix.

Easter Egg-Featurette: 3:57

    Titled Mark Borchardt was in THE ONE with JET LI, this short feature has Mark Borchardt talking about how he came to appear in the film. He also talks about his film making and about being the subject of the documentary hit American Movie: 1999. To access this easter egg, go to the second Special Features page and press 11 on your remote and then press enter. This will highlight the logo from the film and then will take you directly to the special feature. This featurette is presented full frame and is not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version misses out on:

    The Region 1 version misses out on:

    Given the PAL transfer and the cost difference between the R1 and R4 versions of this title, the R4 would have to be the version of choice.


    The video transfer is fantastic with a clean and clear image throughout.

    The audio transfer is immersive with 6 channels working in concert to draw the viewer into the film. The sound is fantastic and easily matches the quality of the video transfer.

     The extras are fairly comprehensive with the exception of not presenting the footage cut from the film to bring it into line for the PG-13 rating (which is not available anywhere anyway).

Ratings (out of 5)


© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Friday, May 17, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic A300-MU, using S-Video output
DisplayHitachi CP-L750W LCD Projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2090
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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