The One is a parallel universes film.
So (and let’s try to keep this brief) there are 124 universes that make up the multiverse. Loads (or possibly one) of those universes know there is a multiverse and have set up a police department to police movement between universes (which is to say, they stop it happening). One of Jet Li’s characters (one of, because multiverse, keep up) is (or was, I suppose) a multiverse agent working for that police department. When he killed another version of himself he got stronger because (and bear with me here because the science gets a bit loose at this point) all the versions of one person share a set amount of energy. So, the more versions of himself he kills, the stronger he gets.
At no point in the film does anyone explain why you have to kill your multiverse doppelgangers to take their energy but presumably you do or nearly all old people would be really really strong, wouldn’t they? Statistically speaking? Yeah. I think so. As I say, the science is pretty loose. Sloppy, you might even say. But, IMPORTANTLY, that doesn’t matter because The One isn’t trying to be Inception. It is, above all, a film about people punching and/or kicking each other in new and interesting ways.
And there will be no complaints from me about that. Making that sort of film is a noble profession. I’d watch The Raid again a thousand times before I’d rewatch Love and Friendship. In fact, I’d watch The One again a thousand times before I’d rewatch Love and Friendship. For realz. That’s just me.
And it is worth pointing out that a film that could have struggled under the weight of a pointlessly complicated plot is kept clear and snappy by some smart little touches from the director, James Wong. For example, a tv shows president Gore addressing the senate in a different universe then Bush when the scene repeats itself in our world.
I’m getting distracted. This is supposed to be about Statham.
He’s not in it much. He plays a multiverse agent with a tragic back story. I think. It’s pretty vague. At one point Delroy Lindo mentions him having had a hard time where he came from but that things are different on earth, not everyone is a combatant. I dunno. Delroy Lindo though. It’s a good cast for an ok movie.
There are a couple of moments early on that Jason Statham seems to be attempting an American accent. It’s possible that it was something somebody wanted to try that didn’t quite work and was abandoned but not quite lost in the edit. Anyway, for whatever reason it happened, the result is that in a film about multiverses where Jason Statham is the only major character not to play multiple versions of himself, he is also the only actor who does more than one accent.
Statham playing only one character also means we had to wait a few years before we got this…
Although of course we had already had this…
Multiverses man. They’re more complicated than you think.
So the thing I learned from The One is… putting Jason Statham, Jet Li, Delroy Lindo and Dean Norris in the same film will only get you so far, but that so far is far enough for an enjoyable hour and a half at the cinema.
And my arbitrary score for The One is… five Stathams out of ten.