‘Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area’ follows a mixed group of Koreans who plan to rob the Korean Mint as the world watches them do it. The series is streaming on Netflix.
Park Sun-ho is a Professor who plans to rob the Korean Mint within the Joint Economic Area and assembles a diverse group of criminals to carry out the job.
It’s Seon Woo-jin and Captain Cha Moo-hyuk’s job to negotiate the release of the hostages and see that the heist is foiled successfully. Due to the tensions between the north and south, their job is made all that more difficult.
Every gang member has different motivations for this job and the Professor has selected them specifically for the set of skills. They plan on printing their own money inside the Mint and escaping through a tunnel.
Sun-ho has also gotten into a relationship with Woo-jin but what started as a way to learn what the authorities have on their end turns into a serious issue as the Professor develops real feelings for Woo-jin.
His meticulous plan is constantly threatened by issues out of his control but he’s got contingencies for multiple scenarios and the only way he’s going to be thwarted is if he faces a worthy opponent, something that Woo-jin proves to be.
The actors not only share the character names of their Spanish counterparts from the original but many of them have also adopted specific mannerisms to a lesser effect.
Yoo Ji-tae and Kim Yun-jin play the opposing forces as the Professor and Seon Woo-jin, who eventually fall in love but despite having passable chemistry, they struggle to shine during the key intellectual moments.
Park Myung-hoon as the Mint director is probably the most impressive when it comes to portrayal as he’s insufferable which is required of that particular character. He makes the skin boil with squirrelly, disruptive and self-absorbed behaviour.
The rest of the gang does not add much original flair to their roles but has performed them with a pleasant resemblance that made these characters enjoyable.
The series has done a good job of incorporating Korean tensions and cultural changes to this series that affect the storyline in minor ways. Korean dramas tend to include social and political messages and this one is no different.
The fictional Joint Economic Area and the designs of the Korean Mint look great and a lot of work has gone into the set designs that should be appreciated.
The creators have stuck the same story as the original Spanish iteration, even down to minor story beats, which is disappointing. An original story would have made for a more interesting series.
There are no stakes in the mind of the viewer as anyone who has seen the original can predict what’s going to happen next except for a few minor moments here and there.
There are questionable decisions made by the sound department that are common in Korean dramas. Certain emotional moments are underscored by the over the top musical choices.
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area is an almost identical remake of the original Spanish series which will come as a disappointment to many looking forward to the series. Future seasons could definitely remedy this with original swerves but at the moment it’s not entirely worth the watch.