Three Extremes features three mini movies directed by three of the more popular Asian Extreme Horror directors: Fruit Chan, Chan-wook Park, and Takashi Miike. Each story is told in the director's style giving you a glimpse of each of their unique talents.
It opens with the first segment, 'Dumplings' (directed by Fruit Chan), which features a slightly aging actress looking to improve her youthfulness and looks. She visits this mysterious woman who cooks these dishes of dumplings, which is said to make whoever eats it look instantly younger. We can kind of guess what these dumplings are made from, its secret ingredient. This was an ok segment, nothing particularly memorable. But content may be disturbing for some.
The second segment is the torture short 'Cut' directed by Chan-wook Park who was also the director behind Oldboy. There's a bit of philosophical/social commentary in the dialog between the oppressor and the victim. And some genuinely cringe-worthy moments which made it hard for me to watch. I don't like torture films, and I found it hard to follow what was going on in this one. There is a somewhat bizarre, hard to figure out twist in the end which left me scratching my head. I only understood it after reading some of the interpretations posted by other people who watched this.
The third and last segment, 'Box', is the story of two sisters. It's a very quiet story with very little sound effects and no background music. Apparently this was the theme that director Takashi Miike (of Audition fame) wanted to convey. Some parts feel disjointed and just altogether weird. But the payoff in the end is kind of nice. And it keeps you thinking long after the movie ends.
I can't say which of the three stories is my favorite. 'Box' just felt a bit too quiet and strange (I even almost fell asleep on some parts!). 'Cut' has the richest story of all three, but somewhat disturbing for my tastes. Most people will probably enjoy 'Dumplings' the most. It's ok, but nothing great. This movie felt different, as most Asian Extreme Horror films are, so it's worth a watch if you're willing to try.
Rating: 4/5 * * * *
A good intro to the Asian Extreme Horror genre.