REVIEW | 'One and Only' captures the endearing chaos of streetdance


Coming in without any knowledge of who Wang Yibo is, save for the description on the invitation that he is a huge Chinese pop star, did not distract me from putting One and Only, the streetdance movie he top bills, under the microscope. Yet throughout its two-hour runtime, I found that there's not much to nitpick but a lot to admire about it. One and Only tops on my list of best dance movies in recent memory.

First, let's get it out that the plot is formulaic. Young busker Chen Shuo (Wang Yibo) benched his dream of becoming part of a popular dance crew to help his mom with their finances. Hip-hop veteran-turned-coach Ding Lei (Huang Bo) then taps him to be a breakdancer stand-in as their main star goes full diva, skips rehearsals, and moves to recruit expat members. It has all the works of an underdog movie. 

So how do you humble someone who is apparently the best in what he does?

Enter a myriad of dance sequences that seem to bend the law of physics. The choreography is top-notch, highlighted with impeccably timed editing.  One and Only's cinematography adds depth to Chen's character. The technicals marry with the story well, you wouldn't notice you've been sitting in the theater for two hours. The meticulous editing of various shots also reflect how complicated and hard it is to pull off dance routines. 

While the movie not only showcases Wang's dancing skills but also his acting chops, Huang's comedic timing gives the much-needed break between melodramatic moments. One and Only's supporting cast also gets their chance to shine with their respective subplots, without making the whole film convoluted. 

Director Dong Chengpeng captures the endearing chaos of streetdance with finesse. It's good that my introduction to Wang Yibo is One and Only.  Wang shows he is more than just a pretty face or a pop idol. On top of his gravity-defying moves, he can act well and tug at the heartstrings.

Rating: 9/10

One and Only opens on Aug. 6 in SM Cinema in the Philippines.