Billing itself as “China’s first lifestyle movie,” “Esquire Runway” is as slick and super-glossy as the glitterati among whom it’s set. First bigscreen feature by Qiao Liang, produced by and dedicated to the 15th anniversary of Trends magazine, plays like a Beijing riff on Peter Chan’s 1994 “He’s a Woman, She’s a Man,” with a blithely unbelievable in travesto revenge plot and a smooth-as-silk lead perf by Hong Kong actor Alex Fong. Entertaining eye-candy will appeal to Asiaphile fest auds.
When banned scandalsheet publisher Li Jiawu (Fong) plans a comeback with a male lifestyle title, his bruised ex-lover Ye Qing (Kong Wei, “The Sun Also Rises”) plans to sabotage Li’s talent competition by getting tomboy younger sister (Zhang Jing) to take part as a man. Beneath her spiky front, Ye is, of course, still in love with Li, and he with her, though it takes him eight reels to realize it. Meanwhile, the sister makes it to the finale, prompting much heart-searching by both femmes. Zhang is OK in the Anita Yuen role, Kong primps and pouts with abandon, and d.p. Xu Wei wraps the souffle in luscious widescreen images.