Three… Extremes (2004)

Three… Extremes [三更2] (2004)

Starring Miriam Yeung, Bai Ling, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Lee Byung-Heon, Lim Won-Hee, Gang Hye-Jung, Kyoko Hasegawa, Atsuro Watabe, Mai Suzuki, Yuu Suzuki

Directed by Fruit Chan (Dumplings), Park Chan-Wook (Cut), Takashi Miike (Box)

Expectations: High. Good talent involved.


I’m a fan of extremes. It’s in my nature to like pushed boundaries and things outside the prescribed normal edges of taste. So when, just a minute or so into the first short, there is a shot so extreme and insane in its ability to shock and repulse that I’m ripped out of my haze and thrown headlong into wild fits of uncontrollable gasping and cringing, I am impressed. This is exactly what happened at the beginning of Three… Extremes, the sequel to the overall underwhelming Three.

Three… Extremes once again brings together three Asian directors from different countries and lets them loose to deliver whatever their hearts desire. First up is Dumplings from Hong Kong’s Fruit Chan, the director of one of my favorite Hong Kong films, Made in Hong Kong. But as much as I like that movie, I’ve never seen anything else from him, so I started Dumplings with a palpable excitement. Chan didn’t let me down either, as he quickly grabbed hold of the reins and never let go. This is easily the most extreme tale, which is somewhat disappointing because it’s first, but Chan is also the least well-known of the three directors here, so just like a nightclub line-up, it makes sense to place his film first. But it’s really a shame when your opener blows you away, and that’s exactly what Fruit Chan does to both Park Chan-Wook and Takashi Miike.

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Made in Hong Kong (1997)

Made in Hong Kong [香港製造] (1997)

Starring Sam Lee Chan-Sam, Wenders Li Tung-Chuen, Neiky Yim Hui-Chi, Amy Tam Ka-Chuen, Carolina Lam Kit-Fong, Chan Tai-Yee, Siu Chung, Doris Chow Yin-Wa, Woo Wai-Chung, Chan Sang, Eric Lau, Kelvin Chung, Ah Ting

Directed by Fruit Chan

Expectations: High. I used to love this movie.


I’ve started this review three times now, and still can’t find a way to properly begin talking about this film. There’s so much going on within it, while at the same time it’s fairly devoid of a traditional plot and moves about somewhat slowly through its story. No matter how flummoxed I am at putting my thoughts to words with this film, I’m sure of one thing. I love this movie. I saw it for the first time fairly close to its Hong Kong release while I was still a teenager. It’s themes of youth and dead-end situations rang true for me, and I instantly made a connection with the film. It contained an energy and power I’d rarely seen in the movies. Hong Kong films are famous for their amazing ability to harness teams of gifted stuntmen and martial artists, but Made in Hong Kong‘s energy is of a completely different variety. It’s pure, raw, unfocused youth on film and it’s a truly impressive and one-of-a-kind experience.

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