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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
- Fruit Chan's extended, feature-length version of Dumplings
- Commentary on Box by director Miike Takashi
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Three different gruesome stories are told about taboo subjects. There's the lady that wants her youthful appearance back and will go to any length to get those wrinkles to disappear. Next is the story of a washed up actor who cannot accept the fact that the director would not cast him as the main character in a movie - his only way to make himself heard is through revenge. The last story is that of a circus, a box and conjoined twins just as messed up and gory as ever.
*This is a foreign film so there are subtitles. Don't bother turning this on if you won't be able to pay attention 100%.
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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I'm not 100% opposed to watching movies subtitled. I can't tell you how many countless Anime I watched subbed back in the day due to...Read more