First there was Freddy vs Jason. Then came Alien vs Predator. Now we have Lana vs Nozomi and, in some ways, this may be the most satisfying pairing of all.
Lana and Nozomi are two actresses who are up for a lead role in a major film being produced in Tokyo. While they await the director’s decision as to which of them will become famous and which will return home, they have been given use of a condominium for the night. The first half hour is a lot of fun as we watch them try to be civil toward each other, while the audience is given the ability to hear what each really thinks of the other:
Nozomi (holding up a bag of chips): Look. Munchies!
Lana: Thank you very much! (thinking: I’m not gonna eat that junk.) I’ll chip in some cash later.
Nozomi: Sure thing. (thinking: Why don’t you pay now, bitch?)
Their rivalry is made more intense by the fact that Lana doesn’t take the medium of film seriously, preferring to work on stage, while Nozomi has been making B-movies for over a decade, trying to get her big break. This is particularly interesting because “2LDK” is a film that could have easily been a play; the whole thing takes place in only a few rooms with only two people but, although this may seem monotonous, the movies zips by at a brisk and, in the final 40 minutes, frenetic pace.
Eventually, of course, these internal insults become verbal and then physical as the two women try to successively outdo each other; the creativity shown in crafting dialogue in the early part of the film continues as each one begins to use ordinary household items as weapons. Ultimately though, the violence in “2LDK” becomes so over the top that it turns into farce under its own weight, a sort of live action Roadrunner cartoon. At least once I yelled “How?” at the screen, as a character became once again mobile after what should have been a lethal incident. However, given the obviously satirical nature of the first half, I’m not certain this was unintentional.
“2LDK” is shorthand in Japanese classified ads for “2 rooms with a combined Living room, Dining room, & Kitchen area.” It also means a pretty bloody, funny, and all-around entertaining movie.
Pros: Creative dialogue and violence. Check out the incredible music during the kiss; the score really knows how to change the mood of a scene. Great subtitled extras on the DVD, including a very fun (and eye-opening) 20 minute “making of.”
Cons:At times, particularly during the first half when the two women are just talking, it seems like the camera is trying too hard to remain interesting. In my opinion, the dynamics of the conversation are intriguing enough that we really don’t need a constantly moving camera.
Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5 shots in the face with bathtub cleaner freakin’ HURT!!!
70 Minutes; Japan
Not Rated, but probably equivalent to an R for violence and language.
Maho Nonami (Lana)
Eiko Koike (Nozomi)
Directed by: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Viewing Format: Import DVD
(Originally published on HorrorWatch)