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by Brian McKay

"Duel Project #2: “Did you use my Shampoo again? DIE, BITCH!”"
4 stars

When I first perused the schedule for this year’s SF Indie Fest, the first thing that caught my eye was the DUEL PROJECT. Set in a swanky Tokyo apartment, 2LKD (2 bedrooms, Living room, Kitchen, and Dining room) tells the story of two roommates who go from thinly veiled dislike to outright homicidal madness in the course of one evening. If two girls beating the hell out of each other is your idea of entertainment, then 2LKD belongs on your must-see list.

What is the DUEL PROJECT?? For the long explanation, click on the link: . For the short one – it’s a contest of one-upmanship between directors to see who can make the best film about an epic duel to the death. For his film, director Yukihiko Tsutsumi chose the premise of two up and coming actresses required to share an apartment provided by their talent agency.

Lana (Maho Nonami) is the experienced party-girl type, used to the attention of many men and winner of several beauty pageants. Eager to get away from doing B-movies and softcore porn, her latest audition for a really big part is her last chance to make it in mainstream films. Her roommate, Nozomi (Eiko Koike), is the sheltered virgin who has trouble attracting men (despite the fact that she’s quite lovely and, as her roommate points out, she has a set of rather large breasts). Having only done modeling jobs, she wants to break into the business just as badly as Lana – so much so that she auditions for the same part.

The fact that the girls don’t really like each other is readily apparent, thanks to the hilarious voice over narration from each girl. Their initial conversations are something in the vein of “I love what you did with your hair”/ I’d really like to kill this bitch, and the fact that they are up for the same part certainly doesn’t relieve the growing tension between them any.

When a series of offenses, both real and exaggerated, put the two roommates on edge, the eventual brawl breaks out – and keeps on going. Beginning with fists and decorative swords, the girls soon proceed to beat, pummel, drown, and electrocute each other into oblivion, only to come back for more a few minutes later. It’s contrived and over the top, but it’s also quite a bit of fun that’s reminiscent of the Evil Dead films and the old Pink Panther movies where Inspector Clouseau’s sidekick, Kato, would ambush him about the house every five minutes (there’s also a nice homage to The Shining, as one of the girls cuts a hole in the door with a chainsaw, then peeks through it with a demented look). This alternately hilarious and bloody showdown culminates in an ending that is not only amusing but appropriately ironic.

2LDK narrowly won the DUEL PROJECT competition in San Francisco by one vote, and it’s easy to see why the audience was so narrowly split. Both films are a good deal of fun, with 2LDK landing more on the campy side of the spectrum. But while Lana and Nozomi couldn’t be more different from each other, there’s one thing they both know how to do well – kick each other’s asses.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/10/04 11:12:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Indie Fest. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Independent Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/22/05 K. Sear A bit too campy for my tastes. 3 stars
1/17/05 Roy Smith Again From the land of Battle Royale, let's get reeeeady to Rumblllllle! 3 stars
1/12/05 y2mckay I still want a Japanese girlfriend 4 stars
7/27/04 kihamatsu i luv this!! excellent movie!! 5 stars
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  13-Jul-2004 (NR)
  DVD: 13-Jul-2004



Directed by
  Yukihiko Tsutsumi

Written by
  Yukihiko Tsutsumi

  Maho Nonami
  Eiko Koike

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