The highly anticipated Korean version of La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) was finally released last month and viewers cannot help but gasp for breath by the end of each episode. The phenomenal plot twists, suspense, and sudden turns compel us to gnaw at our nails from time to time throughout the show. Its continuous grip on the audience is applaudable!
Directed by Kim Hong-sun, Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area features a formidable cast who play the iconic characters from the original series: Professor (Yoo Ji-tae), Berlin (Park Hae-soo), Tokyo (Jun Jong-seo), Moscow (Lee Won-jong), Denver (Kim Ji-hun), Nairobi (Jang Yoon-ju), Rio (Lee Hyun-woo), Helsinki (Kim Ji-hoon), and Oslo (Lee Kyu-ho).
The plot is set in the near future that predicts the unification of the known rivals, North and South Korea. In the time the plot is set, the border that is used to separate both nations is used as an area for joint Economic Development. The area, known as Mint, produces joint currency applicable in both nations. The unification also opens up opportunities for people to travel across the nations and enjoy each other’s products. Tokyo takes the opportunity and leaves for Seoul without a second thought but what awaits her in Seoul was not what she had expected.
Tokyo, a former North Korean soldier, reaching Seoul realized what she has stepped into and started working part-time but soon starts robbing and killing loan sharks and other small-scale criminals until her name gets highlighted in the news. This is where “The Professor” jumps in.
The “Professor” as in the original series, gathers and trains a group of eight financially deprived but highly skilled criminals in their respective fields to carry out the largest heist in the history of Korea at the joint economic National Mint. They plan, as the professor explains, not to rob but to produce their part of the economy by printing 4 trillion Won and distributing that among themselves. This is what they claim, is a justifiable act for betterment.
No-kill, no harm, just print, and out! This is their plan but the unexpected situations created, one after the other make Professor alter their heist plans throughout the story according to the situation.
From the selection of their symbolic ‘names’ to the planning and execution, although partial, of the plan, the show has a hold on the audience and knows how to engage them and make them binge-watch the entire show. Filled with suspense, a tint of humor and spices of action sprinkled on the plot make the series highly engaging and captivating. Along with all these spells it casts on the viewers, it also succeeds to highlight the possible economic issues a common man would face and how “rich getting richer and poor getting poorer” remains the same.
What makes the Korean version special is the addition of Korean spices to the show. “Hahoe” masks replacing the symbolic “Dali” masks is an example of the Korean pinch to the show. From the character of Professor, and Berlin, to Tokyo, the versatile cast nailed the characters and the back story of each character that compelled them to get involved in the heist creates a bitter-sweet bond between the viewer and characters. The hero-villain characteristic combination of the characters makes viewers love and despise the characters at the same time while enjoying the show with popcorn in hand and sitting in the same place for hours without moving.
Our verdict? A true masterpiece that met the expectations of a highly anticipated Korean remake is a must-watch. No doubt, it got in the group of most-watched Korean shows. The cliffhanger at the end of season one has already made viewers impatient for season two to arrive. Watch season one on Netflix and join the club to wait for S2!
(Article by: Javeria)