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AKA: Dumplings Three Extremes

Year of release: 2004

Genre: suspense

Director: Fruit Chan

Stars: Miriam Yeung, Bai Ling, Tony Leung Ka-Fai

Rated III for disturbing imagery and sexual content

VCD Information

Company: Celestial

Format: widescreen

Languages: Cantonese/Mandarin

Subtitles: Chinese/English (electronic on lower portion of picture)

Extras: trailer

Notes: The subs are a little too big, but this is a good VCD overall; the sound mix is one of the best I've ever heard on the format.

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Three... Extremes: Dumplings

Three... Extremes: Dumplings

I really love Chinese dumplings, but after seeing this movie, I don't think I'll ever look at them in the same light. Three... Extremes: Dumplings (which is an expanded version of Fruit Chan's contribution to the Three... Extremes compilation) is one of the more disturbing films I've seen lately. I sat through the much-hyped Saw while munching on nachos with extra cheese (and, frankly, the nachos were the best thing about that movie), but I wouldn't fathom doing the same with Dumplings.

The fact that Three... Extremes: Dumplings is so creepy is all the more surprising since it's directed by Fruit Chan, who is known for weepy romantic dramas, not shocking thrillers. Chan does an excellent job here, though. I really have disliked Miriam Yeung in the films I've seen her in, but Chan actually makes her likeable here -- even though the actions she takes should make her anything but. In the movie, she plays an aging actress who comes to a former doctor (played by the smoking hot Bai Ling) who crafts dumplings filled with the "meat" of aborted fetuses, which return youth to the person who eats them. The dumplings become an addiction for Miriam, and soon she starts to go to any length to get them.

Three... Extremes: Dumplings

Despite the plot and the film's Category III rating, Three... Extremes: Dumplings is not a gore-fest ala The Untold Story. The movie does have its' share of unsettling moments (most notably an extended abortion sequence), but it's what the viewer does not see (and is left to their own imagination) that leaves its' mark. Three... Extremes: Dumplings is also genuinely sexy without being sleazy (Bai Ling's cleavage is such a thing of beauty to behold), and there is a good dose of ultra-black humor as well.

2004 has been kind of a strange year for Hong Kong movies. Many of the big-budget "epics" have failed to live up to the pre-release hype, but there have been many excellent films that have come in "under the radar", and Three... Extremes: Dumplings is another one of those movies. It's scary and sexy, but most importantly, it's fun -- in a twisted kind of way. This is the kind of movie western Hong Kong film fans love: something off-kilter which would never be produced in the United States. While the US seems content in cranking out dull PG-13 fare like the remake of The Grudge, thankfully Asian film-makers are still willing to take chances. Even if you're not normally into horror/suspense films, do yourself a favor and check this one out.

Three... Extremes: Dumplings