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3 Extremes (2d US Special Edition)

Director(s): Takashi Miike, Park Chan-wook, Fruit Chan

Theatrical Release: 2004

Cast: Bai Ling, Miriam Yeung, Tony Leung Kar-Fai, Pauline Lau

Genre(s): Horror, Comedy

Countries: Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, South Korea


Location in store:

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Ant Rating
6.7
MyRating
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Running Time: 126m.

DISC ONE

Three Asian directors, from Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan, join forces to create an omnibus horror film, Three...Extremes, a sequel of sorts to the 2002 Hong Kong/Korean/Thai production Three. In Fruit Chan's "Dumplings," shot by Christopher Doyle, Mrs. Li (Miriam Yeung), a thirtysomething former actress with a philandering husband (Tony Leung) goes to visit Aunt Mei (Bai Ling), who sells the most expensive dumplings in Hong Kong. Mrs. Li knows about their rejuvenating powers, and she also knows about their unpleasant main ingredient, but after some initial nausea, she digs right in. In Oldboy writer/director Park Chan-wook's "Cut," a successful filmmaker (Lee Byung-hun of Joint Security Area) arrives home to find that a disgruntled extra (Lim Won-hee) has taken over his home, and fastened his pianist wife (Kang Hye-jun of Oldboy) to the grand piano. The madman threatens to cut off the wife's fingers, one by one, unless the director strangles the helpless child he's tied to the couch. Takashi Miike directs the last segment, "Box," about a young author and former circus performer, Kyoko (Kyoko Hasegawa) seemingly haunted by the ghost of her twin sister, who died a mysterious and horrible death while practicing their act. Adding to Kyoko's trauma, her editor (Atsuro Watabe) is a dead ringer for her old stepfather/ringmaster, who may have perished in the same "accident" that took her sister's life. Three...Extremes was shown at Subway Cinema's New York Asian Film Festival in 2005. For the American release of Three... Extremes, the order in which the films are presented was altered from the original "Box," "Dumplings," and "Cut" to "Dumplings," "Cut," and "Box." -- Josh Ralske (allmovie.com)

DISC TWO

DUMPLINGS (Gaudzi, Honk Kong, Fruit Chan, full length 91m) - Wickedly delicious and sinfully satisfying, Fruit Chanís seventh film is a delightful and squirm-inducing voyage through the slippery-slope, nightmarish perils of vanity. Featuring Bai Ling, Miriam Yeung, and Tony Leung Kar-fai, and the sumptuous cinematography of Christopher Doyle, DUMPLINGS is a film sure to delight, shock and offend.

Mei (Ling) is a trashy former abortion doctor who shuttles back and forth across the HK-China border with benign-looking containers of glistening dumplings. Bound not for the family dinner table, these dumplings are of a special sort, and the preferred meal of a high-paying clientele who seek their famed youth-renewing powers. Qing (Yeung) is a nearing-40 former soap actress clinging to her youth and attempting to win back her philandering husband (Leung), who sucks down chicken fetuses in an attempt to maintain his own vigor. Regular meals at Meiís apartment only whet her appetite for eternally smooth skin, and trigger an ominous search for an even more potent variety of the dumplingsí secret ingredient.

The ingredient in question, while appalling, is only a warm-up to the twisted moral and cosmic consequences that result from the ethical-boundary-free rules that govern their universe. In his best film to date, Chan masterfully holds a mirror up to the increasingly frightening world around us, and pushes all the right buttons.
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