Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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Portmanteau of three unrelated thrillers, the weakest being Nonzee Nimibutr's puppet piece. The bookend shorts - Kim Ji-Woon's Memories and in particular Peter Ho-Sun Chan's Going Home - are more successful, but none of them are very frightening and they are all over-directed and (wilfully?) overcomplicated.
Not bad, not quite as good as the first one though. But damn, that last segment "Going Home" is such an emotional gutpunch.
Not anywhere close to Three...Extremes. I think in Asia this one came out first. The 3 stories were somewhat of a bore. The Korean one is the only one that I enjoyed, probably because the actress is so cute. However, the story is cliche. Didn't watch the puppet one through, got too bored. The Chinese one is creepy, but again... just strange and somewhat predictable. Go read my reviews and analysis in the forums of Three... Extreme. All 3 of the short films in there are good, 2 of them required deeper exploration, analysis.
Saam Gaang (Three...Extremes II) (Nonzee Nimibur et al., 2002)
Three...Extremes has become a horror classic, showcasing three directors-Takashi Miike, Fruit Chan, and Chan-wook Park-who turned in A-level work. Now here's the interesting bit: Three...Extremes is actually the sequel, Saam Gaang yi, released in 2004. This movie, Saam Gaang, is the original. The directors here haven't gained nearly as much traction in the west, and the stories to be found here aren't as... punchy, for lack of a better term. The stories collected here are slower, more cerebral; I'd almost characterize these as supernatural dramas rather than horror pieces (the supernatural drama seems to be something unique to southeast Asian filmmaking, and those I've seen have been bang-up jobs I recommend to everyone and their mothers every chance I get-which reminds me, this is another great chance to plug The Uninvited!). In other words, probably not as good a fit for the Western market. The movies' respective IMDB ratings would seem to bear this out (as I write this, Saam Gaang yi has a 7.0, Saam Gaang a 6.2). But personally, well, I like this one just the slightest bit better than its sequel.
Jee-woon Kim (I Saw the Devil) leads off with "Memories", the story of a woman (The Red Shoes' Hye-su Kim) with amnesia whose only connection to what she assumes is her life is a scrap of paper with a phone number on it...but no one ever answers. I'm not a big fan of Kim's earlier stuff-I'm the only Asian horror fan I know who's never been sold on A Tale of Two Sisters, which I found dull and predictable-and this, the weakest of the three segments, is no different. Second comes "The Wheel", from Jan Dara director Nonzee Nimibutr, a guy who's never made a horror picture in his life. (Remember, "supernatural drama".) It's a slow, satisfying meditation on reincarnation, possession, and murderous puppets. You can never really go wrong with murderous puppets. I will note for the record that I seem to be alone in my regard for this segment; every other review I've read has dismissed it out of hand, so YMMV.
And then... the brakes come off, and Peter Ho-sun Chan (Dragon) hits us with "Coming Home", the runaway favorite. Wai (Infernal Affairs' Eric Tsang) and his son move into a new apartment. When his son wanders off in search of what may or may not be a ghostly playmate, Wai goes looking for him and ends up a prisoner in the home of Yu (Fallen Angels' Leon Lai, who won a Golden Horse, Taiwan's version of an Oscar, for his performance here), a practitioner of herbal medicine who believes his deceased wife, Hai'er (Memoirs of a Geisha's Eugenia Yuan), can be resurrected with just the right formula. The verbal sparring between Wai and Yu, interestingly, put me in mind more than once of the interplay between Byung-hyun Lee and Won-hie Lim in "Cut", the story Chan-wook Park directed for Saam Gaang yi.
I'm taking a slightly different route to get to the same conclusion as most reviewers: inconsistent, but worth watching anyway. There's a lot to like about this, and if you're unfamiliar with some of the directors involved, hopefully this will give you the impetus to go seek out more of their stuff. Worth your time. *** 1/2
You can read my review of "Three Extremes II" here - http://geektasticfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2012/09/three-extremes-ii.html
It was okay, Out all of all the stories. I found the first one to be the most original. The second one was boring and made no sense. The third one was confusing also.
much worse than take one. but still watchable, i dont care which came first.
Nothing Extreme about it...
I only enjoyed two of the three short films. Dumplings is very classic Chinese horror with a more subtle way of scaring the viewer. Cut was very predictable and not at all typical South Korean horror. Usually riddled with dead fetuses or ghosts South Korean horror usually does a better job balancing horror and realism. Instead Cut seemed like another lame installment of Saw. The last one Box was still hard to view but in a common Japanese incest way. Good story in the sense that it infuriates, disgusts, saddens and surprises you. Plus it touches upon the cultural taboo of incest that Japanese movies, animes, and books always seem to.
"Three Extremes" is an interesting experiment in horror. Although over the years we've seen quite a few Asian fright films brought to North America, mostly in the form of remakes like "The Grudge", "The Ring" or even, *gulp* "One Missed Call" but this anthology is something new. There are some truly unique concepts here and fans of American horror films will leave thinking "why can't we get stories as frightening as these?" I thought the first two stories "Dumplings" and "Cut" were so good and so original that I feel compelled to show this film to anyone that has even a passing interest in the genre. The downside is that they show off all too clearly the flaws in the third short, "Box". I wouldn't have such a problem with the final story... if I could actually understand what the heck is going on. It's either too subtle, or badly put together by Takashi Miike because I listened to the commentary and still can't really make heads or tails of it. Ordinarily, a weak conclusion would demand this get at least a star get knocked off, but even with that final tale, there are still plenty of good moments and since you can easily watch these out of order (I'd say third, second, then first works best) or skip the last one altogether this film, which genuinely made my skin crawl more than once earns itself a perfect score. (On Dvd, February 2012)