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3 Extremes

3.6 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Three Extremes is a bracing triptych of horror stories uniting three of East Asia's most compelling directors -- Japanese cult figure Takashi Miike, Hong Kongs Fruit Chan, and Koreas award-winning Park Chan-Wook. Using distinctive cinematic styles that span dream-like minimalism, savage comedy and baroque horror, these cutting-edge directors penetrate the dark heart of desire, examining the ghastly urges that transform ordinary people into monsters. Stylish, twisted and laced with haunting imagery, Three Extremes breaks the bounds of genre cinema, confirming the visionary talent of three master directors.


The idea of unleashing three of Asia's wildest directors in the same omnibus film is a terrific one, and putting the likes of Miike Takashi and Park Chan-wook to work in the Twilight Zone-style mini-feature is mouth-watering for fans. (Just look at what happened when Miike made an installment of Showtime's Masters of Horror series--it was deemed too crazy for broadcast.) Alas, the results are a letdown. First up, "Dumplings," is from Hong Kong's Fruit Chan, and it's the most cogent (and ickiest) of the bunch. Bai Ling plays a specialist in preparing dumplings that promise to restore youth and health for her customers; the weird part is she also runs a particular clinic on her premises. Ugh. The Korean offering from Park Chan-wook is "Cut," a warp on filmmaking about a self-centered director who gets trapped at his home (or is it the set of his new movie?) by a deranged former extra. The sadistic machinations here make Hannibal Lecter look reasonable, and the segment gets points for weirdness, but Park's take on revenge fantasies is much more exciting in Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Miike represents Japan with "Box," which really is in the spirit of an old Outer Limits episode, complete with a "gotcha" ending that doesn't seem worth the trouble. Sure, twins are always a good topic for horror, but this segment is a long way to travel for not much. All three segments look good--there's little hint of the grindhouse cheapie here--but overall it's a disappointment. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Fruit Chan's extended, feature-length version of Dumplings
  • Commentary on Box by director Miike Takashi
  • Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Bai Ling, Byung-hun Lee, Kyoko Hasegawa, Pauline Lau, Tony Ka Fai Leung
  • Directors: Chan-wook Park, Fruit Chan, Takashi Miike
  • Writers: Chan-wook Park, Bobby White, Bun Saikou, Haruko Fukushima, Pik Wah Lee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese, Korean
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: February 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CRR3ME
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,083 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "3 Extremes" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I was stoked when I first heard of the concept for this film (although, for some reason, it's taken me years to actually see it). Uniting three of the finest Asian horror directors, "3 Extremes" is an anthology showcasing short films--each about 40 minutes in length. Well, there's good news and bad news. Overall, I quite enjoyed "3 Extremes" and would recommend it to any fans of the genre. But as with most things in the anthology format, different segments will appeal to different people. And, interestingly enough, the filmmaker I was eagerly anticipating presented the most mundane story and the one I was least familiar with provided the film's best moments.

The first segment is "Dumplings," courtesy of Hong Kong's Fruit Chan. Chan, whose work I am the least familiar with, provides the most wickedly entertaining story. Bai Ling (and who doesn't love Bai Ling?) plays an industrious entrepreneur who makes and markets special dumplings that help women regain their youth. Operating out of her apartment, the dumplings are prepared lovingly with.....let's just call it a special ingredient. I found the entire episode to be smart and grotesque--always a winning combination. I'd award this segment 5 stars.

Next up, the macabre and over-the-top entry from Korea's Park Chan-Wook is entitled "Cut." Chan-Wook has increased in popularity lately due to "Old Boy" and the "Vengeance" pictures, and "Cut" doesn't stray too far from that successful formula. A film director finds himself held captive by a disgruntled extra, and to survive he must prove that he is capable of evil. Elaborately staged (think something excessive from the "Saw" franchise), this segment is fascinating and theatrical. It lacks a little bite due to its artifice, but still manages to be great fun.
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Format: DVD
DUMPLINGS (Hong Kong. directed by Fruit Chan)- An aging woman seeks to regain her youth through unethical, unearthly methods. This one is NOT for anyone who can't stand the sight, or even the thought of unflinching, gynecological horror! I'll never eat dumplings again as long as I live! CUT ( Korea. directed by Park Chan-Wook)- A film director finds himself abducted and forced to make choices between life, death, and dismemberment. Suspenseful, horrific, and (at times) humorous! BOX (Japan, directed by Miike Takashi)- A woman is haunted by nightmares of her twin sister. Many eerie and ghoulish goings-on. Much of the film is dreamlike, giving a sense of unreality. A great ending helps this one! 3 EXTREMES is an excellent anthology for lovers of Asian horror, or horror in general. Well worth owning... P.S.- The 2-disc edition has the full-length feature version of DUMPLINGS. Highly recommended as it fleshes out the story, as well as providing a more thorough narrative...
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Format: DVD
I have had this film for several months now, as I purchased it as an all-region import disc. The film is actually an omnibus of three films, one film each directed by Takashi Miike of Japan, Fruit Chan of Hong Kong, and Park Chan-wook of South Korea. Of the two, Miike and Park are no doubt well known here in the U.S. This is my first exposure to the work of Chan and based on his contribution, I look forward to seeing other of his films. The first film is "Box," directed by Miike. This is some of the most strongest, recent work done by Miike. I thought that "Zebraman" was okay, and I was impressed with "Izo" though it did tend to be repetitive. "Box" however, is visually impressive and calls to mind the work of David Lynch. The brief running time also seems to have made for a more coherent and focused story. I don't want to give too much away, but like Miike's best work, "Box" is disturbing and unforgettable. Chan's "Dumplings" follows next. Now, this film is not only disturbing, it's haunting and a bit gross. "Dumplings" isn't gory though. Let me just say that when you find out what the filling in the dumplings is, you may begin to feel a bit queasy. There is a full-length version of this film as well, and I really would like an oppotunity to see that version. Bai Ling is actually pretty funny in this film. She should definitely do more overseas work. "Dumplings" has probably one of the most haunting last shots you will see. Very good film, arguably the best of the three. The last film is "Cut." This is my least favorite of the three. I've seen Park's other films and this one comes across as very light weight. With it's excessive gore the film plays like a "Grand Guignol." Park even appears to satirize his revenge trilogy. Pay attention to the words spoken by the son of the villain of the piece. I recommend this movie wholeheartedly. I don't think you will be disappointed.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Overall, this is a great collection for any horror fan, especially any fan of Asian horror, mostly as it covers the range of three large countries in the Asian horror industry: China, Korea, and Japan; as well as three distinct and prominent aspects of the horror genre in general, namely shock, dark humor, and psychology.

In my opinion, Box was by far the strongest film, followed by Dumplings, and finally Cut. Perhaps that is my subjection favoring more ambiguous and cerebral psychological horror. Personally, I thought Box had an amazingly intriguing plot and near perfect cinematography and directing with a strong message. It was done in a creepy way that didn't rely on gore, shock, or cheap scares. In my opinion, this one short film is worth the price of the whole DVD. I very much wish Takashi Miike would have made it into a feature-length film as it is among his best. I would award this a 5/5.

Dumplings was great too. It succeeded as a great shock movie with an intriguing plot and a great breaking of taboos. I really enjoyed the grotesque nature of the film and found it very unique; it will certainly shock any first-time viewer. I would give this a 4/5.

Unfortunately though, I found Cut to be boring, pointless, and overall just a bad story. I doubt my opinion here is particularly biased either, for I do appreciate dark humor a lot, but nevertheless, I found little value in the story itself, and thought the message was poorly presented. Not to mention, the ending didn't really make a whole lot of sense, and not in the intricate, ambiguous kind of way characteristic of Asian horror films (e.g. Box); plainly, it didn't make any sense to me in the context of the story. I would give this film a 2/5 at best.
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