Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Movie Miscellany: The One

To follow up Friday's post about a universe in every black hole, this week's movie is The One. This flick could be pretty much be summed up as Highlander meets the Matrix, and it gives new literal meaning to the saying 'you are your own worst enemy.'

The One takes place far far in the future, where there is not one universe, but many, which is a multiverse. In fact, there are 124 universes, and there is a different version of everyone in each universe. Travel between universes is strictly forbidden, because everyone knows terrible things happen when you mess around with alternate realities. Naturally there is a multiverse police force to enforce this law, and these agents are the only ones allowed to travel between universes.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Jet Li is both the hero and the villain in this movie, and both of his characters are competing to be…the One. The trouble begins when Jet Li goes to another universe on a mission, meets another version of himself, fights himself, and kills his (alternate) self. Upon killing himself, the power of dead Jet Li* is distributed amongst all the others. The agent Jet Li then uses his new extra strength to go about killing all the other Jet Lis to harvest their power and attempt to become…the One.

The movie starts off with the captured evil ex-agent Jet Li getting sentenced for the murders of his alternate selves. He's managed to off all his other selves…but one. He escapes the wormhole to the prison universe and the rest of the movie is about this evil Jet Li and his attempt to off the last remaining Jet Li. But the remaining Jet Li has been aware of his increasing strength (as all the other Jet Lis were knocked off). Once the multiverse agents on the hunt for his evil alternate self give him the low down on how he's acquired his strength, he hones them fightin' skills and fights back.

Now that you have this oh-so-intricate plot, let me tell you the more specific reasons why this movie is so ridiculously amazing, and why you need to see it.

First on the list is one of the first scenes in the movie, where evil Jet Li escapes right before being sent to the prison universe. One of his wives or special lady friends attending the sentencing uses a bomb attached to a live mouse to bust him out. Said mouse is smuggled into the prison in the heel of her shoe. For serious. After said escape, there is of course a car chase. With evil Jet Li on foot, running, clocked at about 50 mph, being chased by cars. For serious.

Oh, and you must be told this oh-so-important subtext to the plot: if either of the last two Jet Lis kills the other, the other has to be killed because he'll be too powerful. BUT, if the last Jet Li standing is killed, it could destroy the uni - no, multiverse! Oh, the conundrums!

In a nutshell, this is probably the best nemesis movie ever. Because the nemesis is the evil version of the main character. And both are played by Jet Li. Which makes for so many awesome fight scenes. In fact, the chase scene with cars v. Jet Li gets topped by a chase scene of the remaining Jet Li chasing the evil Jet Li. On foot. While both of them are being chased by cars.

But the chase scenes are surpassed in awesomeness by the final action sequence. It is remaining Jet Li vs. evil Jet Li in the ultimate showdown in some big nuclear-looking facility with all kinds of pipes, wire walkways, etc. Besides all the usual Matrix-esque moves in the fight scene, perhaps my favorite part is when something explodes and sends evil Jet Li flying against a wall. A shower of sparks rains down in the air, and remaining Jet Li walks through the shower of sparks to finish off the bad guy.

And last but not least, the spoiler: the movie has the most totally happy ending. Evil Jet Li goes to the prison universe** to beat up convicts in the most epic king-of-the-hill game ever. For the rest of his life. Hooray!

There's probably a lot more I could rave about, but I'll stop there, because if you actually see this, you might be expecting something amazing. Which it is, but in that awesomely bad kind of way. And one final note - according to IMDb, The One will be on TV next Sunday and Monday morning (giggle), April 25 and 26. Now you don't even have to spend the money to rent it!

* The character names are unimportant. Because I can't keep them all straight. Rather than looking them up, I'll leave it ambiguous as it is. Not to frustrate you, dear reader, but because the same ambiguity exists in the movie, of course.

** As a serious aside, one of my biggest pet peeves with futuristic movies is that most of them assume the super flawed institutions that exist nowadays will still be around. In The One I'm referring to the prison system. I like to think that once we've gotten so advanced that we can travel between universes, we'll have recognized that locking people away where they're abused and even more psychologically distressed than when they came in, and then expecting them to be able to readjust to being back in society doesn't really work. At all.

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