Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area K-Drama Review & Summary: Welcome To Capitalism

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Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area is a South Korean remake of the worldwide sensation Money Heist, a Spanish crime drama series first released in 2017. The first six episodes of the Korean remake were released on Netflix on 24 June 2022.

Money Heist: Korea K-Drama Cast

  • Yoo Ji-tae as Professor/ Park Sunho
  • Park Hae-soo as Berlin
  • Jeon Jong-seo as Tokyo
  • Kim Ji-hoon as Denver
  • Kim Yun-jin as Seon Woo-jin
  • Lee Won-jong as Moscow
  • Jang Yoon-ju as Nairobi
  • Lee Hyun-woo as Rio
  • Kim Ji-hun as Helsinki
  • Lee Kyu-ho as Oslo

Money Heist: Korea K-Drama Plot

Money Heist: Korea – Joint  Economic Area is about a genius strategist ‘The Professor’ and the group of criminals he brought together to pull off a heist at the Mint at JEA in a now unified Korea. They plan to steal four trillion won and use the hostages trapped inside to their advantage, but the police and conflict between the thieves cause obstacles to the heist.

Money Heist: Korea K-Drama Review

Money Heist: Korea K-Drama Review

Money Heist took the world by storm when it was released, and through all five seasons remained a popular show loved by millions across the globe. The fifth season concluded just last year, so the Korean remake being released in 2022 was a little surprising because the Spanish version would still be fresh in the audience’s memory, so wasn’t it too soon? However, I was still looking forward to it.

Since Money Heist: Korea largely stays faithful to the Spanish version’s plot, comparing the original and the remake is inevitable. There were some aspects of the original that the remake improved, but others that made it a tad bit underwhelming.

Let’s start with what I liked about Money Heist: Korea. The setting and backdrop are different from the original – it takes place after the reunification of South and North Korea in the near future. The people were promised a better future, but thanks to capitalism, the rich got richer while the poor – especially North Korean immigrants seeking to fulfill their dreams – suffered in the new society.

The characters have different backstories in the Korean version; I liked Tokyo’s in particular – a North Korean woman who was a soldier, but after moving to Seoul post the unification, turned to a life of crime due to her dire circumstances. She’s levelheaded, fiercely loyal to the Professor, and is a problem solver rather than causing them (like in the original). Frankly, I like her more than Tokyo in the Spanish version, but that’s just a personal preference.

Money Heist Korea scrapped the Tokyo-Rio backstory as well, which I found interesting.

Kim Yun-jin, who plays the role of Seon Woo-jin, the crisis negotiation team leader, stood out for her excellent performance. While all the cast members have done justice to their roles, she’s easily the star of the show. Park Hae-soo (Berlin) and Yoo Ji-tae (Professor) did a commendable job as well.

To be completely honest, a major reason I continued watching the show is for Seon Woo-jin and Tokyo, who became my favourite characters quickly.

Now, on to the things I didn’t like.

The show is a heist drama with high stakes, so it’s essential that the soundtrack builds up tension accordingly – much like in horror movies, sound plays a major role in the viewing experience of a thriller drama. However, the soundtrack of Money Heist: Korea wasn’t impactful enough; it had the chance to elevate the drama, but a golden opportunity was missed here.

Nairobi, Helsinki, and Oslo were just… there, instead of contributing much significance to the story, and there wasn’t any chemistry among the group as a whole. I hoped to see the bond between the characters – a group of misfits hailing from different backgrounds who have conflicts but still care about each other, but sadly there was none of this in the show.

I was also hoping Money Heist: Korea would change the storyline while still keeping the essence of the original, but the plot remains mostly the same, which in my opinion worked against the K-Drama. The Korean flavors they added to the show made it really interesting – the backdrop, the themes, as well as the masks – but if only the makers had been brave enough to take more risks, Money Heist: Korea would be an outstanding show on par with the original.

The Movie Culture Synopsis

I enjoyed both the original and Money Heist: Korea nearly the same amount, but I’d understand why hardcore fans might find it a little disappointing. However, Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area does justice to the Spanish version, so it’s still worth a watch.