When bullied Woo Ki Myung (Joo Won) transfers to a fashion conscious Seoul high school, he decides to reinvent himself. Cue the ridiculous fashion show!
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★.5
With his eye on Park Hye Jin (Park Se Young), the female half of his new high school’s most stylish couple, Ki Myung enlists the help of fashion counterfeiter, Kim Nam Jung (Kim Sung Oh). Under Nam Jung’s cheap, but chic tutelage, Ki Myung becomes a formidable foe for Hye Jin’s affections, and threatens the status of her boyfriend, Kim Won Ho (Ahn Jae Hyun).
Won Ho takes his daddy issues out on Ki Myung with a smear campaign and physical violence against both him and his friends. The stakes are raised when the rivals both enter the Style No. 1 Fashion King competition. However, Ki Myung is determined to win, even if he must die for fashion.
Fashion King is entertaining enough, with the outlandish fashion, and the comic book style flourishes. Kim Sung Oh is fabulous as Nam Jung, the nebbish lead’s mentor in cheap chic. He puts his charges through a ludicrous exercise regimen in order to tighten their bodies for the sake of fashion and teaches them that charisma doesn’t need a big budget. But mostly, I just enjoyed looking at Kim Sung Oh’s ludicrous hair.
Unfortunately, it was hard to connect with Ki Myung, whose main strengths were ambition and perseverance. Since he is kind of dopey and not naturally stylish, he relies heavily on Nam Jung for style advice. The female lead, played by Sulli, is equally uninspired, simply looking unkempt and scurrying on the margins until Nam Jung gives her the requisite makeover that suddenly reveals her beauty.
Fashion King reminded me a lot of Hot Blooded Youth. Both started out with an entertainingly ludicrous depiction of high school life, which is inexplicably replaced in the third act with gratuitous violence. If the movie had remained primarily a comedy, then Fashion King would at least have been mildly amusing.