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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three Horror Stories From The Asian Masters--A Good Compilation, But Not That Extreme
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...
Published on March 11, 2007 by K. Harris

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 1 was definitely extreme
*3 Extremes* is an anthology of 3 Asian directors giving a short film.

The first one was "Dumpling" and I thought this was the most gruesome of them all. Let me forewarn you not to eat, especially Chinese food, while watching this particular short because that is exactly what I did. I had to put down my food until this movie was over.

Anyways,...
Published on June 11, 2007 by LARRY


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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three Horror Stories From The Asian Masters--A Good Compilation, But Not That Extreme, March 11, 2007
This review is from: 3 Extremes (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. A solid 4 star experience.

Last, we have "Box" from one of my favorites--Japan's Takashi Miike. As I alluded to earlier, this methodically paced segment was the least effective for me. Taking a cue from a traditional Japanese ghost story, a young woman is haunted by a family tragedy in her past. It's pretty standard fare mixing reality with dreams, but a nice ending helps the piece overall. Still, about 3 stars.

Check this out if you're a fan of this type of entertainment. I do wish that they had restructured the segments. If they had been placed in reverse order, the film's momentum would have built. Instead, by leading with the most intriguing segment, it did go somewhat downhill from there. KGHarris, 03/07.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asianthology..., August 22, 2010
This review is from: 3 Extremes (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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tasty sample platter of Asian Horror., January 20, 2006
This review is from: 3 Extremes (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, May 25, 2011
This review is from: 3 Extremes (DVD)
When I first bought this film I had already knew the plot and most of what happened in each movie. But it never failed to keep my interest. The first film,'Dumplings', would have to be my second favorite of the three. I think this movie was meant to be a way for Fruit Chan to express how he feels about the Chinese policy and the way women are desperate to stay youthful even in old age. With China's one-child-to-a-home policy, abortion probably wouldn't be out of the ordinary(though Taboo to speak of) but I think what Chan was trying to say is with this film is "If this isn't wrong, then why is this wrong? If this isn't going too far, then why is this too far? Why is this so important that you are willing to take it to the next level?"(Sorry If this is giving too much of the film away)But, I found this movie to be nicely put together and well rounded. I give this film a 4 out of 5. Can't wait to see the full length version of 'Dumplings'!
The second film, 'Cut', was the least favorite of mine, though it was entertaining and the most violent and gory of the three films. I feel that too much of the film was done in a comical way and had a lot of unnecessary elements to it. I was expecting a lot from Park but I felt that it was a great effort being his first installment into the horror genre and when all and all each film were "different depictions of how each director thought a horror should be". Also, like most Korean films and dramas, the ending of this film didn't fail to disappoint me. Though, I do kinda understand the ending. I think this story ended the way it did for one reason, spark of insanity. Second reason: In the end, he called his wife "kid" and look at the kid as though talking to his wife. I thought that since before where he had to choke the child in order for them to be free, maybe it was easier for him to kill his wife who he actually had animosity toward than an innocent child. I give this film a 3.5 out of 5.
The last film, 'Box', was my favorite. I liked the artistic element and superb direction and production value. Though slow paced, It doesn't fail to keep me interested. As Takashii mentioned in the commentary that this 48 minute film could've been told in an even shorter amount of time. While I agree, he does a great job of adding the element of surprise. Though some wouldn't classify this as a horror film, I believe it takes it a little further than just blood, knives and senseless killing and actually makes you think and feel. It blurred the line between what was a dream and was reality as you might notice at the end of the film. Also loved this film because it was, how should I say, oddly(and possibly unexceptionaly) erotic, which I loved the most. I rate this feature a 5 out of 5.
Over all, I give this film a 5 out of 5 with the exception of 'Cut'. Buy it!^_^
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 1 was definitely extreme, June 11, 2007
By 
LARRY (Capitol Heights, MD) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 3 Extremes (DVD)
*3 Extremes* is an anthology of 3 Asian directors giving a short film.

The first one was "Dumpling" and I thought this was the most gruesome of them all. Let me forewarn you not to eat, especially Chinese food, while watching this particular short because that is exactly what I did. I had to put down my food until this movie was over.

Anyways, "Dumpling" is about a woman who is known for her dumplings that seem to bring restorative powers of youth. An aging actress has sought out this woman for the dumplings. Over time, she starts to notice that she gets a little younger. Of course, there is a price attached for wanting to become younger.

"Cut" was ok. It was the least favorite of mine. Maybe I overanalyze this one but I felt that the ending ruined the whole point of the movie. Anyways, a movie director is captured and imprisoned in his own set that he was currently filming. On his right is his wife who is "stringed" to a piano. On his left is a bound and gagged girl. The kidnapper is deranged and wants a confession out of the director and wants him to strangle the girl to death. For every 5 minutes that passes and the girl isn't strangled, the wife loses a finger.

This one is sort of like watching "Tales from the Crypt" because something goes awry towards the end.

"Box" was interesting. A woman gets this strange recurring dream and then she gets a visit from her dead sister. Then, you're taken back to the time when the woman and her sisters were little girls. They were acrobatic dancers for a man at a one-tent circus.

One evening, a girl decides to tease her sister by locking her in a box. When that is done, an argument ensues between the girl and the man. During the argument, a fire breaks out and quickly engulfs the box with the trapped sister. The man jumps into the fire but he never makes it back. The girl runs away, never looking back.

Years later, the woman is having dreams about her past. Plus, someone is sending her reminders of the past. If you really pay attention, you can probably figure it out before the ending is revealed.

Overall, I thought this film was alright. Nothing really scary or suspenseful. Just gruesome...with "Dumpling". I was telling a friend of mine about this. He told me there is an extended/completed version of "Dumpling". So, I'm curious to check that out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Extremes might be a misnomer ..., March 25, 2007
This review is from: 3 Extremes (DVD)
I have to agree with the previous reviewer ... unless you are an ardent fan of Asian horror, I'd begin my collection elsewhere.

"Dumplings" is well cast. Both actresses engage the viewer fully. And, by all means, the topic is deeply taboo and evokes a visceral response. (I'm willing to bet the crunching of baby-bones has caused more than one viewer to swoon). And the conclusion, well, it was a good as could be expected ... perhaps even better. (Though the tongue thing has me at a bit of a loss). The eye-contact with the viewer in the final seconds is smart ... as if to say, "Would you do anything different for beauty?" I guess, I just wish Fruit Chan had made this a full-length film! 4 out of 5 stars.

"Cut" has a thoroughly post-modern spin. It is clever and visually stunning. It is, a bit predictable; however, the director's "playfulness" easily compensates for the obviousness of the film-short. I really enjoyed the cyclical nature of the piece. It is uncanny, to say the least. Technically speaking, it is a 4 out of 5. As far as story-telling is concerned, a 2 out of 5.

"Box" was the most disappointing. I am a huge Takashi Miike fan ("Audition" and "Happiness of the Katakuris" are two of my most beloved Asian films!) Still, even he could not work his usual magic on this unpredictably "predictable" piece (as in, when it concludes you are like, "Ummmmm, really?! How painfully 'Twilight Zone'!!") (And, yes, the director is quite familiar with Western works). Why this piece may interest fans of the director is his treatment of women. Much like "Audition," the viewer encounters a young woman who (seems to) have endured a strange, unpleasant childhood. It haunts her adult years. Only, there is a wretched spin at the very end (which you may or may not find amusing. You be the judge). Visually, the short film is a 4 out of 5. The story 1 out of 5.

So, if you are a fan of the genre, definitely watch it. There are many gratifying moments for enthusiasts! But, if this is one of your first forays into Asian horror, return to this collection once you have a firmer foundation. (I'm not insinuating that you will fail to understand this collection ... I think anyone can understand these film-shorts ... I am just afraid that they will not make the best impression with you!) Try "Audition," "Ichi the Killer," or even "The Eye" and then return to this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars yellow caution tape on this one, March 11, 2007
This review is from: 3 Extremes (DVD)
I was not familiar with Fruit Chan prior to seeing this but was excited to see both Takashi Miike and Chan-Wook Park in a single film. Well, the idea was way better than the result.

"Dumplings" is quite genuinely disturbing actually, so perhaps I should be more complimentary towards it but I found it too annoying and offputting in its precious style to really like it; so I guess I have a certain cerebral admiration for this episode but I just wouldn't particularly want to go through it again. Chan-Wook Park's episode "Cut" was a startling disappointment to me. It was so completely deranged and aggressively over the top (and not in the good way) as to almost make me question my love of his other work. It had that kind of highly theatrical exaggerated formal gimmickry that a lot of very tough to sit through late 60s/early 70s "ART" films have (especially fellini inspired trippy movies about movie-making); a kind of frenetic jumbling of avant-gardisms and artificiality that can just push you away from the screen and make you recoil. While Oldboy, say, has its excessive attention-drawing formalistic elements, they never pile up and become distracting or egregious; maybe this short film was intended by Park as a kind of extended joke about criticisms made of his other films but I can't really tell for sure. I prefer to tell myself that "Cut" just does not exist and will continue to think of Chan-Wook Park as a director that I like. Miike's installment, coming after Park's is strangely quite subdued and has a sort of dreamy Lynchian feel a bit like Gozu did. While I thought there were some nice moments to it and some striking visuals, it's really not all that essential to see in the rather complicated Miike-landscape.

So, I can't really see much reason to recommend getting this. I'm not even sure if I could recommend a single viewing, given that I somewhat regret having seen "Cut" at all and given that "Dumpling" is so fundamentally unpleasant in nature. But then, perhaps, my reaction to those two installments should say something about what true "horror" is really about (?) and maybe there is more to this omnibus venture than I am willing to admit. If true "horror" is about feeling repulsed and unhappy, then maybe these two segments really nailed it in fact, but I tend to think it's not as simple as that and so easy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 Tales of Terror from 3 of Asia's Most Extreme, February 23, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: 3 Extremes (DVD)
This is the perfect jumping-off point
for anyone curious about diving into Asian Shock Cinema.
It contains 3 Extreme Tales,
that encompass the brunt of what Asia has to offer.

For those interested in creepy gross-out fests;
Fruit Chan's "Dumplings" will deliver.
For those interested in tales of vengeance;
Chan Wook-Park's "Cut" will leave you in pieces.
And for those seeking a ghost story;
Takashi Miike's "The Box" will haunt you.

I personally ordered this flick twice from Amazon;
- once for myself
- and once for a friend of mine who also loves Eastern Horror

To both my suprise and delight, this is a 2-disc set
The second disc containing the full version of "Dumplings",
which quite honestly, is worth the purchase alone.

Anyways ... on to the movies:

Fruit Chan's "Dumplings"
is easily the most extreme of the 3.
It tells the tale of a woman, whose Home-made Dumplings can restore the youth of anyone who can afford them.
Subsequently, she also runs a clinic out of the back of her shop, where she aquires her youthful ingredients.
Needless to say:
This one is not for The Feint of Heart or Weak of Stomach.

Chan Wook Park's "Cut"
is the most intense of of the 3 Extremes.
More than once it had me on the edge of my futon.
Another tale of of retribution, from the man who masters in the subject.
This tale concerns a POMPOUS director,
who is kidnapped by a demented extra he once employed.
Tied up with a giant rubber-band, that allows for minimum movement,
he must make the most dire decision of his life.
Is he willing to take the life of a little girl to save his wifes?

Takashi Miike's "The Box"
is the most artistic of the 3,
yet sadly, it's the least extreme.
For those who know his work, you will be thoroughly disappointed.
For those who don't know his work (good for you, you may enjoy this)
he is the most extreme of the extreme.
So Extreme "Showtime" wouldn't air his episode of "Masters of Horror" due to graphic content.
(Interesting Side Note:
"Showtime does however play "Ichi the Killer" & "Gozu" - Go Figure)
Anyway he's a cult favorite in both America and his native Japan.
The guy practically screams "extreme" from hemisphere to hemisphere,
so naturally, he seemed like a shoe-in for this project.
Regretfully though, his installment is totally not "Miike"
But since you don't know of his work, it should be fine.
Whatever the case may be....
This ghost tale revolves around 2 Sisters (Sound Familiar?)
Both of whom fall in love with their dance instructor.
The one sister becomes jealous when she finds the other is intimately involved with the trainer, so naturally she locks her sister in a box to keep her safe. (Sounds Rational)
- Loads of artsy atmosphere, gorgeous settings, and enough chills to keep you on ice; but ulimately none of that could save me from the impending confusion, and dare-I-say, boredom that ensued.
- Maybe if you've never seen a "Miike" film before you'll enjoy this one, or maybe if you still like "Ringu" you'll get a kick out of it.
But for me..........
when I order Wheat, I don't want rye.(If you catch my drift)

MORAL OF THE STORY:
Youth has its price
Fame has its price
Love has its price
These are the 3 Extremes
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There is a good chance that at least one of these three stories will prove to be too extreme for you, June 30, 2006
By 
This review is from: 3 Extremes (DVD)
I actually sat down to watch this DVD without knowing that it was a trilogy of horror tales, so it was a bit of a surprise to see the credits for the first segment start rolling and to have watched the climax of that first story without knowing it was the conclusion. But the description of the movie that came with the disc only talked about the first story and helped perpetuate my error. In point of fact, "Three Extremes" ("Saam gaang yi") is a trilogy of horror stories from three Asian directors from three different countries. This might not be everybody's cup of tea, especially when it comes to their taste in horror, but this certainly is an improvement over most of the horror anthologies we had to endure during the 1960s and 1970s. What you need to know is that it going beyond what we have seen in the past, some viewers will find this film goes too far.

The short that will push limits and buttons alike is the first one, "Dumplings," directed by Hong Kong's Fruit Chan. It takes a familiar theme in horror shows, the desire of a woman to maintain her looks and youth. Ching (Miriam Yeung Chin Wah) was a television star and while we would think she is still attractive, she is no longer working and has no doubt it is because she is losing her looks. So she seeks out Mei (Ling Bai) who makes dumplings in her crowded apartment and who maintains they are the secret to her own youthful appearance, because she claims to be a whole lot older. So Ching tries the dumplings, and, damn is they do not appear to be working. That means more dumplings, but the process is too slow for Ching and she is willing to try something more drastic, so Mei says she will see what she can do. Now I could let you know more about what else Mei does in her little apartment and what he secret ingredient turns out to be, but it might shock you, offend you, and possibly make you physically ill. But, hey, that is what peole WANT in a horror film, right? In that regard Fruit Chan comes up with a situation that will truly horrify you and a final scene that could well make you close your eyes and vow never to take a bath as long as you live. You will not forget this one and you might not forgive the director.

Next up is "Cut," by the Korean director Chan-Woo Park ("Oldboy"). A director (Byung-hun Lee) of horror films wakes up on his set to discover that his wife (Hye-jeong Kang), a pianist has her fingers super-glued to the keys of a piano. On the couch sits a young child who has been bound and gagged, while the director finds himself at the end of a tether that restricts his movements as to what he can and cannot reach. This strange situation has been created by a stranger (Won-hie Lim), who has appeared in all five of the director's films, and hates the director because he is everything the stranger is not. The stranger's goal is to bring the director down to his level by forcing the man to do something evil. Again, telling you what he want the director to do would be giving away too much of what happens, but the multiple meanings of the title given the circumstances will point you in the right direction. Suffice it to say that things get bloody, a lot bloodier than the first story, and even then it is not over.

Finally, there is "Box," from the Japanese director Takashi Miike ("Audition"). Given his track record (the "Dead or Alive" trilogy), the biggest surprise on this DVD might well be the restraint and almost surreal approach he takes in telling this tale, because after the first two I was not sure what sort of horror show was being saved for last. The story is about a novelist, Kyoko (Kyoko Hasegawa), who is having nightmares about what we assume is her past. Once upon a time there were twin girls, Kyoko (Mai Suzuki) and Shoko (Yuu Suzuki), who worked in a sort of magic act with their stepfather (Atsuro Watabe). The girls were contortionists, who would fold themselves into small boxes. Darts are thrown at the boxes to make them spring open and reveal flowers where the girls had been. But the stepfather, who cares more for Shoko, albeit in clearly disturbing and ominous ways, makes young Kyoko jealous. So she comes up with what may or may not be a bit of childlike payback that has fatal results. Now as an adult, Kyoko is not only having recurring nightmares, but she has also received a letter telling her to return to the circus for a reunion. The ambiguity of the situation, where she could be just dreaming or totally insane, is hardly resolved by the ending of this one.

I have discovered two interesting things about "Thee Extremes" now that I have actually watched the film. First, "Dumplings" was originally a complete film on its own that has been cut down to less than half its original length for this exported version. Second, Lions Gate changed the order of the segments for the U.S. version. Originally it was "Box," and then "Dumplings" followed by "Cut." That would certainly make a difference to viewers. I have to say that starting with the least offensive tale rather than the one that could compel viewers to hit the eject button on their DVD players is an interesting tactic to take. But I take some small measure of comfort in noting how many people knowing full well that the opening segment could be too much for some viewers still refrain from letting the cat out of the bag and allowing others to make up their own minds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Asian horror collection, April 16, 2014
This review is from: Three...Extremes (English Subtitled) (Amazon Instant Video)
If you're into Asian horror, you'll like this collection of three shorts. I prefer the visual style of Miike and Park Chan-wook to Fruit Chan, but Fruit Chan's Dumplings was better in this version than in the full-length feature version. Cut is mindbending in true Vengeance trilogy fashion as one would expect from Park Chan-wook. Miike's Box is beautiful and haunting, with a very disturbing twist. If you're expecting extreme gore because of the title, Dumplings delivers the most, but it's not really about that.
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