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Blu-ray Reviews


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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted March 29 2009 - 04:21 PM

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The One

Release Date: March 31, 2009
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-Ray case
Year: 2001
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1h27m
MSRP: $34.99

Video1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1Standard definition
AudioDolby TrueHD: English 5.1, French 5.1, Portuguese 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Spanish 5.1Stereo: English
SubtitlesEnglish, English SDH, French, Portuguese, SpanishPortuguese, Spanish

The Feature: 3/5
Los Angeles County police officer Gabe Law (Jet Li) and his wife T.K. (Carla Gugino) get the surprise of their lives when Gabe is attacked by a man who looks just like him. Turns out it is him - or a version of him - from an alternate universe. Yulaw (also played by Li) has been slipping through wormholes to alternate realities, killing off his counterparts in a bid to be the last one standing. As the others are killed off their strength and abilities get redistributed to the survivors, so by the time Yulaw catches up with Gabe, they each have the resources of about 60 men. If Yulaw has his way, he'll get it all, but then it could also lead to the destruction of the entire multiverse. Though agents from the other reality (played by Delroy Lindo and Jason Statham) have been sent to stop Yulaw, Gabe is really the only one who can face him head on. Though they match each other pound-for-pound and strength-for-strength, Gabriel has a singular advantage - someone to fight for besides himself.

Though "The One" seems to capitalize on the popularity of "The Matrix", the films are nothing alike at their core. Superficially they bear similarities like martial arts action, time-shifting special effects and the general notion of alternate realities, but the underlying story and approach to it could not be more different. If forced to compare the two, "The One" certainly suffers as it lacks the other film's epic tone, depth and polish, but on its own it's reasonably entertaining. Li does a decent job in the lead role (his final lines as Yulaw notwithstanding) and though the martial arts sequences don't show off the full extent of his abilities, the special effects or pyrotechnics never get in the way either. Some may balk at the film's loosey-goosey interpretation of scientific concepts like the conservation of energy, but the fact it takes nothing too seriously is ultimately its biggest charm.

Video Quality: 4/5
The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. Blacks are inky in their depth but contrast is inconsistent, often looking flat or dull. Colors show good depth and fidelity, however. The palette shifts some as characters cross between realities (the universe in the opening scene has a purple cast) but flesh tones hold up nicely and nothing looks out of place that isn't supposed to be. Fine object detail is excellent, skin textures and road surfaces in particular, and overall sharpness is both crisp and consistent. Finally, the image is free of physical blemishes and shows no signs of noise reduction or digital sharpening.

Audio Quality: 3.5/5
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track features some engaging environmental and directional effects and consistently clear dialogue, but LFE is noticeably lacking. Explosions never reach very deep though, strangely, body blows and atmospheric bass effects seem to have some of that missing depth. At times the mix also seems particularly front heavy, resulting in a kind of off-balance experience when other parts have equivalent activity in the surrounds.

Special Features: 3/5
Not surprisingly the extras tend to focus on the film's special effects and stunts, rather than the underlying "science" or story.

Director and Crew Commentary: Director James Wong, Production Designer David Snider, Cinematographer Robert McLachlin, and Editor Jim Coblentz offer a mostly technical commentary that emphasizes the various lighting techniques and the editing decisions that had to be made to get a PG-13 rating. It's a reasonably interesting feature, if a little dry and perfunctory at times.

"Making Of: Jet Li is 'The One'" (13m39s): Standard promotional package that looks at casting, martial arts training, Li's philosophy and spirituality and working with Director Wong.

"Multiverses Create 'The One'" (18m48s): A closer and more extensive look at the martial arts choreography, stunt sequences and special effects.

"About Face" (5m56s): An overview of the face and head replacement techniques that allowed Li to fight himself.

"The Many Faces of Jet Li" (2m22s): Montage of the various Law characters.

Animatic Comparison (1m26s): The animatic of the motorcycle police fight viewed side-by-side with the final footage.

Previews (1m02s): Trailer for "Resident Evil: Degeneration"


The Feature: 3/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 3/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5

An entertaining science-fiction action film that never takes itself too seriously gets an above average technical presentation and a decent set of special features.

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

Aaron Silverman

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Posted March 30 2009 - 09:51 AM

This movie got horrible reviews but I agree with Cam that it was a pretty fun B-pic (with a great ending). I may look for this on the cheap. Posted Image
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

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