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Money Heist Korea Review: La Casa de Papel Remake Gets Ingredients Right But There's Little Too Much On The Table

By: dishya sharma

News18.com

Last Updated: June 25, 2022, 14:52 IST

Money Heist Korea premiered on Netflix on Friday.
Money Heist Korea premiered on Netflix on Friday.

Money Heist: Korea U

3/5
  • 24 June 2022 | Korean
  • 6 hrs 30 mins | Crime
  • Starring: Yoo Ji-tae, Kim Yun-jin, Park Hae-soo, Jun Jong-seo, Lee Won-jong, Kim Ji-hun, Jang Yoon-ju, Lee Hyun-woo, Kim Ji-hoon and Lee Kyu-ho
  • Director: Kim Hong-sun
  • Music:

Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area premiered on Netflix on Friday. The series is the official adaptation of the blockbuster show La Casa de Papel.

As an avid fan of Money Heist and K-dramas, I was thrilled when Netflix announced Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area. I was eager to watch my favourite Korean actors give their own spin to iconic characters such as Professor, Berlin, and Tokyo. So, did the new spin on the famous La Casa de Papel live up to my expectations? Well, yes and no.

Money Heist: Korea follows the same formula as the original Spanish version. The series revolves around a heist involving some of the most skillful thieves in the country. The Korean version is set in the fictitious future with North and South Korea unified. The group of thugs takes over the Mint of a unified Korea and prints new money worth 4 trillion won. They hold the employees and a group of school children hostage. One of the students is also the daughter of a US ambassador.

Much like the original version, Money Heist: Korea has kept the key elements in place — the heist, the characters, the looks, and even the scenes. The series seems like an ode to the original, with scenes from the original being recreated for the Korean version. While this takes fans of Money Heist on a nostalgic journey, it also feels repetitive and predictable after a point.

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The makers add limited changes to the storytelling, resulting in the show being just another replica. However, the Korean spices add the truest flavours to the series. Money Heist: Korea soaks every character in different shades and colours of North and South Korea, giving the already seen show a new facelift. The different dialects used in the series also act as a drawing point for the series. To top it off, replacing the Spanish Dali masks with Hahoe masks gives the members of the heist a more local connection.

On the acting front, it was a little difficult to shake off the images left behind by Álvaro Morte (Professor), Pedro Alonso (Berlin) or Úrsula Corberó (Tokyo) in the first two episodes. Given the original show’s legacy, it did take me some time to associate the characters with new faces. Once adapted, the actors carry each of their roles well.

It comes as no surprise that Park Hae-soo stands out as the Korean counterpart of Berlin. Having featured in most of the Netflix original series in the last one year, Park Hae-soo always comes forward with a newer shade. He makes Berlin his own, giving us a unique backstory. Kim Yun-jin breaks away from the image set by Itziar Ituño to give her own touch to the negotiator. She lights up the screen as Seon Woo-jin.

Unfortunately, I am sad to report that Yoo Ji-tae did not work as the Professor for me. He appeared to be conscious throughout the first half and by the time he actually got into the skin, the series was nearing its end. His screen presence wasn’t as easy and charming as Morte in La Casa de Papel. I hope Yoo Ji-tae doesn’t shy away from biting into the juicy part of the Professor in the second part of Money Heist: Korea.

I appreciate the alter, more mellow version of Tokyo played by Jeon Jong-seo. It came as a surprise, especially since Jeon Jong-seo has delivered some meaty performances in Burning and my personal favourite The Call. While these characters were the highlights of the series, Money Heist: Korea’s writing does not allow you to truly connect with each character like the original one did.

The series has too many dishes on its table to include in their meal and so little time to eat it that it seemed to be in a rush to finish. Instead of exploring each subject — be it the unification and its aftermath or the plan of the heist and each character’s backstory — individually, Money Heist: Korea tries to pack in almost everything in each episode that leads to a tad hotch-potch.

Money Heist: Korea has great potential to explore unventured territories in the second season and even incorporate some original storytelling style that could give La Casa de Papel a run for its money. It is to see if they do manage to experiment or choose the safe and tested option.

Money Heist: Korea is now streaming on Netflix.

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first published:June 25, 2022, 13:53 IST
last updated:June 25, 2022, 14:52 IST