Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Fruit Chan/Park Chan-Wook/Takashi Miike
Starring: Miriam Yeung, Bai Ling, Tony Ka-Fai Leung, Lee Byung-Hun, Lim Won-Hee, Gang Hye-Jun, Kyoko Hasegawa, Atsuro Watabe
RunTime: -
Released By: Warner Bros Singapore
Rating: R21 (Disturbing Content)

Released Date: 9 September 2004

Synopsis (Courtesy from Warner Bros) :

HK Segment: "Dumplings". No woman can possibly resist the token of rejuvenation - flip over its dreamy blissful side and you will find an expansive nightmare of endless pursue. But Qing can afford it all. An ex-starlet turned wife of a prominent rich man, Qing is destined to have this dream come true.

Qing uses a lot of muscles before she can get to the mysterious chef Mei to provide her specialty dumplings. Qing is no gourmet but simply dying for resuming her youth and beauty when at stake is her lifetime career as a housewife of the filthy rich. And Mei's dumplings claim to deliver just that. Mei, a former gynecologist, developed a secret recipe for rejuvenation which has allowed her to bid farewell to her abortion career. Now Mei only serves desperate rich women like Qing. Mei understands a woman's need and she can fulfill a woman's desire -- all you need is a leap of faith taking a bite into the dumplings with human fetus fillings...

Korea Segment: "Cut". RYU Ji-Ho is a successful film director who has earned wide and solid support from audience and critics back-to-back. Wealthy, respected, talented, happily-married, good-looking and also kind in nature -- everything about Ryu is the definition of Mr. Perfect… that is, until he comes home one day after finishing a shoot and encounters a complete stranger.

The stranger is indeed a male extra whom Ryu has never paid attention to and probably no one else ever did. Madly envious of the director's good fortune, the man is here to destroy. He has brought along a child and taken Ryu's pianist wife hostage. And now he offers Ryu two choices: to kill the child or to watch his wife's fingers being cut off -- one after another. Either way, Ryu's life would never be the same again. Tormented by the horns of a dilemma, the people in the house cannot but fall preys to the madman's monstrosity -- which gradually proves itself a contagious one…

Japan Segment: "Box". Kyoko is a successful novelist and a renowned beauty, yet she confines herself to a solitary life behind a veil of secrecy. She has ambivalent feelings towards her editor who is obviously infatuated with her. Kyoko, however, is not in a position to open her heart to her editor... or to anyone.

It all begins with a traumatic experience in her childhood that has remained unspoken. At the tender age of ten, Kyoko accidentally caused her twin sister Shoko -- a rival for the affection of their surrogate father Hikita -- to be burned to death. Stricken by grieve, Hikita vanished shortly afterwards. Kyoko has been haunted by the memory of her twin since and she has devoted her life to the search of Hikita whom her editor incidentally shares a spitting image with. Kyoko is uncontrollably attracted to the likeness at the same time terrorized by it - is there something beyond pure coincidence?

One day, Kyoko finds on her desk a bouquet of flowers accompanied by an invitation card. The card indicates only the venue and the time of a meeting -- the place is where her sister died...


This new Asian horror anthology movie, in which 3 directors from 3 different countries craft their individual tales unrelated to the other 2. Without any constant theme or narrative style, each director films the three segments with their distinctly different styles.

In the First Segment

Viewing this segment reminds me of the circus “Cirque Du Solei” with it interesting costumes makeup and the lovely pair of young contortionists. However it’s a mini circus gone tragically wrong as jealousy causes an accident that will haunt the life of novelist Kyoko.

Some parts of this segment showcased a face covered with long hair: an eerie kid standing at the dark corner. These parts look awfully similar to so many of the recent Japanese horror flicks that it has started to feel like nothing out of the ordinary.

Director Takashi Miike didn’t take this segment to the gruesome extreme as he did before with “Audition” or “Ichi the Killer”. Instead he weaved a dreamlike story with recurring nightmares of a beautiful snow-filled landscape that seemingly leads to nowhere.

The Second Segment,

Dumplings with Fetus Fillings sound like a dish to go side by side with the Human Meat Cha Siew Bao. It’s official now that we Chinese will eat anything that can move. In this segment, Hong Kong director Fruit Chan treats us with the weird and “wonderful” delicacies that promise to rejuvenate one’s youth. Unfamiliar with this non-mainstream director’s previous work, he did reasonably well in creating a believable world where one would do anything for vanity.

It was supposed to be actress Miriam Yeung breakthrough role from her comedic acting career but the limelight was definitely stolen by supporting actress Bai Ling. It has been entertaining watching Bai Ling cook up a storm as the unapologetic cook who does the appalling acts of serving fetus dumplings to the rich Tai Tais for the sake of beauty and youth.

In the Last segment

What a dilemma this last segment presents: kill an innocent kid that you don’t know or watch your pianist wife have her fingers cut off one by one. The stand off between the good-hearted director and the disgruntled film extra was quite engaging as it infused dark humor with philosophy and wanton violence. This segment showcased the ugliness of jealousy; trust in relationship and the fight to survive.

This could easily be the most satisfying segment of all the three segments. However any serious movies buff would be able to pick out how Director Park Chan Wook copied David Fincher's films: from the characters’ dialogue to the nifty camera view zooming thru areas that are normally inaccessible for a normal camera and even right down to the prop used in Se7en. But if you leave that aside, the viewing for this segment would be whole lot more enjoyable.

Verdict: One weak spot in this film is that it has failed to hit the scary meter mark to attract the horror film junkies. Yet on another hand, the horrifying factor is strong enough to deter the squeamish folks from watching this film. Another aspect of this film is that it does not resolve nor explain some issues of the film. Viewers must be able to interpret and draw their own conclusion for this artistic film.

Although this film is marketed as a horror film, this film is really an artistic film with slight touches of horror. Instead of pushing the edges of fears and terrors, this film dwells on the disturbing emotions that rely on the audience’s sympathy for the characters. Overall, the film serves as an interesting Asian version of Twilight Zone. It might fail to pour heart-pounding fear in you but there will be moments when you might want to cover your eyes or look away.

Movie Rating: C- 2.5 Boxes / Dumplings / Fingers out of 5

Review by Richard Lim Jr

  Publicity Stills of "Three...Extremes" (Courtesy from Warner Bros Singapore)

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