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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts Cycle > One, The (Superbit)

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 market. 

 

 

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


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