The One (Superbit)
Picture: A- Sound: A+ Extras: D Film: C
After the success of The
Matrix, there were many attempts to outdo, outsmart, and outlast it. There were films by the dozen attempting to
ride the wave of its visual style, advanced time shifting, stop-motion camera,
and many other gimmicky devices. While
most find The Matrix annoying after awhile, it is hard to resist the
fact that it has had a huge impact on filmmaking for TV, commercials, and other
feature films. Whether this is a good
thing or not, is yet to be determined.
At least this film did not need two sequels to flush out its narrative.
One of those pictures that
came about was Jet Li in The One, a Columbia TriStar venture into the
world of Sci-Fi action. While there may
only be ‘one’ Jet Li, the film contains about 123 of him. Set in the future where there are multiple
universes each person has multiples of them living in the other universes. For one individual, Lawless (evil Jet Li) he
figures out that by destroying his other selves that he becomes stronger,
essentially making him ‘the one’. As
this happens each time he kills one of him, the others become stronger as the
energy is then divided among the remaining until all of them are dead, the last
one will be the strongest. Enter Jet Li
again, now playing Gabe (good guy), who must fight against Lawless in order to
save the universe(s).
While the film may not be
the most original or intellectually stimulating, it certainly has some nice
action scenes, which truly shine on this upgraded Superbit Edition of the
film. Originally the film was released
onto DVD with extras, and a Dolby 5.1 only soundtrack. Now those extras were taken away in order to
fully utilize the information on the disc for more video and audio. The inclusion of a higher bit rate DTS track
is also offered and the results are astonishing.
Both 5.1 mixes are
state-of-the-art and the film was released theatrically in Dolby, DTS, and
SDDS. There is no doubt that this film
has the sound-design worthy of showing off and what better way to do so then
with a Superbit release. Now we have
the upgraded fuller bit rate DTS, which simply makes the Dolby track sound like
a Pinto trying to race a Ferrari. The
meat and muscle lies with the DTS mix, which is literally breathtaking in its
sonic realism and dimension. There are
very few titles that come close to the range this film contains with the
aggressive low-end, crystal clear high-end, depth, and overall 360-degree
soundfield. Even the heavy metal laded
soundtrack kicks around the surround mix with accuracy and integrity.
Perhaps the only titles
that can match this film for sound would be some of the other Superbit titles
such as The Patriot, Vertical Limit, and Hollow Man, which
are all covered on this site. Other
titles might include New Line’s Blade 2 (covered here as well) or Fox’s Daredevil
(covered here too). Whatever the
case, the sound alone on this disc is worthy of showing off, so audiophiles
listen up! You would think that Warner,
after making the mistake of NOT doing The Matrix in DTS, would include
the option for the sequel, but made the mistake again. By doing so, they allow for films like this
to show off even better on DVD, making repeat viewings more enjoyable, no
matter what the material.
Not only do we have a fine
audio transfer, but the 2.35 X 1 scope picture looks splendid too. Robert McLachlan’s cinematography looks
remarkable, despite some of the bad digital effects thrown in time to time. He worked before with James Wong on Final
Destination. Part of the drawback
with the transfer was the use of Super 35, which never yields the results of
shooting in Panavision. For this
process, which was mostly due to the amount of special effects, the image is
shot with widescreen in mind, but the actual 2.35 X 1 image is later cut out of
the larger shot portion. Because of
this, the widescreen image that is taken out must be enlarged, causing it to
lose some of its clarity, depth, and detail.
The Arriflex 435 camera was used to shoot the film, which is a lighter
camera and has been used on other huge productions such as Pearl Harbor
and Hannibal, both released in 2001, with The One.
Colors look appropriately
sharp and clear. Surfaces have a smooth
edge to them and darker scenes look refined as well. The only drawback from time to time is some slight shifting in
certain patterns, but it is very minimal.
There is a very slight softness here and there as if there was a mere
sheen to the print. Overall, the
picture detail looks great by comparison to what else is available on the
The One is a film that can easily be forgotten. It’s either lost in the shuffle of Matrix-like-wannabe
or it falls into the plethora of Jet Li fight-after-fight type of film. However, releasing the film this way was
certainly the way to go, making it more watchable and certainly a sheer showoff
piece for any home theater buff.
- Nate Goss