Vincenzo Series Review & Summary(2021): A Truly Satisfying K-Drama

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Video Source – Netflix Asia (Netflix Asia YouTube Channel)

Vincenzo is a Thriller Korean Drama which is currently airing on Netflix. It is a perfect combination of humor, action and awe-inspiring moments which keeps the viewers on the edge. The next episode of Vincenzo airs in two weeks on Netflix. 

Vincenzo Series Plot

Vincenzo revolves around an Italian Mafia by the same name who, in search of Gold, sets out to his motherland, Korea. His intentions, however, take a turn and his enemies change as he hops on the fight against the evil conglomerate of Babel.

Vincenzo Series Cast

  • Song Joong-Ki as Vincenzo Cassano
  • Yeo-bin Jeon as Hong Cha Young
  • Ok Taecyeon as Jang Jun Woo
  • Kwak Dong-Yeon as Jang Han Seo
In a still from Vincenzo

Vincenzo Series Review

Vincenzo aired its 15th and 16th episode this weekend and oh boy did it get us all in a wild frenzy. The plot and the pacing of Vincenzo has always been a good blend of filler, drama and action, which is truly a fresh breath of air in the genre of K-Dramas. A story about an Italian Mafia who comes to his homeland Korea definitely doesn’t tick all the right boxes in terms of realism but somehow the drama and the excellent characters of the show make up for it, big time. It is a kind of drama which knows its boundaries and doesn’t take itself that seriously so when we see these insane twists and turns taking place, it feels right at home.

Furthermore, there is an array of well written dialogue in this series which fleshes out the characters by giving each of them time to breath and have their moments. Almost every person in this show is likeable, whether they are the antagonists or Vincenzo himself. Now that episode 16 has aired, there is a long span of 12 days which separate us from the next episodes. Especially with the cliffhanger in the end, I don’t know how I am going to get through this grueling wait without more Babel redemption to feed my soul. So till then let’s go through a recap of everything that has happened so far and what makes this Korean Mafia show stand out among others. 

Vincenzo episode 17 and 18 were the perfect continuation in expanding the dark aura of this thrilling K-Drama. We directly continue from the massive cliffhanger of episode 16 where Vincenzo barges into the suite of Jang Jun-woo with dead piercing eyes. He accompanies the killer of his mom and kills him in front of their eyes. However it was obvious that he won’t straight away kill them as he wants to give them a death with keeps getting more painful and relentless. So he leaves them be after giving them a scare and as a demo, shoots through Jang Jun-woo’s ear to show whose got the upper hand.

Vincenzo Episode 19 marked the return of Vincenzo who was almost on his way to Italy. The goons who were threatening the people of Geumga Plaza get what they deserve in the most righteous way possible. How is it possible that Vincenzo alone would fight all of these 20 different people? Well, It became possible after the entire Geumga Plaza stepped in to rescue their beloved consigliere. From fighting with Knifes to thrashing them with skilled martial arts, there’s is nothing these members can’t do to be completely honest. Hong Cha-young, who was still annoyed by the leader’s presence, bashes his head just as he is about to mention the gold under the temple. 

Vincenzo Series: A menacing company and some gold bars

It all starts off with Vincenzo Cassano (Played by Song Joong-ki) coming back to his motherland, Korea. He is, in his prime, an ass-kicking Italian Mafia who is as unforgiving as he is righteous. The series demonstrates this person’s thinking ability and his clever persona very early on as he lights an entire Italian gangster’s home up in flames. Soon, as the series progresses, we learn more about this character, his true intentions in Korea and his personal life. Then we see Hong Cha-Yong (played by Jeon Yeo-been), who is, to some extent, a complete contrast of a character. She doesn’t have that many morals to begin with and she is willing to axe anything and anyone to obtain a victory as the lead lawyer of Babel. Hong Cha-Yong plays effectively as a comic relief who also develops a significant arc later on. It’s only when personal stakes are involved when things start to change and characters evolve.

The true villain of the series is kept under wraps during the beginning of the show, and the reveal calms the suspense with a shocking yet satisfying revelation. This whole series is about fighting a conglomerate, while at the same time, pursuing a much more materialistic mission. Gold is what you find within your heart and also within the Geumga Plaza, for which Vincenzo arrives in Korea in the first place. Yet, the arc of this character takes a drastic turn as he shifts his focus on a much more humane and significant fight. A fight, which is set in Korea, yet Vincenzo chooses to fight it the only way he knows how to, as a Mafia. Every move in and by Vincenzo, brings in front his prior experience and expertise as the renowned mafia he had been in Italy.

In a still from Vincenzo

Vincenzo Series: The Outstanding production quality of Vincenzo

This K-Drama contains episodes which usually last as long as an Indie movie, and I suppose that is the case with most of the K-Dramas that come out. But Vincenzo knows how to utilize the entirety of its long runtime for its advantage. Even when it lowers its pace, it compensates for it with its breathtaking cinematography and character moments which are worthy of the attention that is being given to them. It has a fantastic score and soundtrack which it doesn’t shy away from using. And while repeated usage of the same score tends to become a bit monotonous, it hardly takes away from the epic twist or reveal of the sequence. The characters and their performances bring together a cohesive amalgam of heartwarming and humorous scenes.

The members of the Geumga Plaza are each different in their own funny little ways and as we go on, we learn more about their hidden talents and their quirks keep enhancing. The chemistry between Vincenzo and Hong Cha-Young, which transcends from being partners to being each other’s love interests, is extremely cheesy at times and definitely what the show is trying to go for. It yearns for those awe-inspiring moments, but the action, thrill and violence of the show elevate the mature themes up a notch. When we see Vincenzo, he is not a protagonist. He is a feared Mafia outlaw who has killed his share of men, so that makes him an Anti-Hero. But his moral code is specific and he only punishes those who have done wrong to him or to others. Babel, whereas, is a different story all together. It is the classic evil conglomerate which can buy anything and anyone it sets its eyes to, and its true owner is hidden amidst a fog of deception and silent ruthlessness. 

There’s a lot more to talk about and dissect in Vincenzo, but it will only be possible after some more clarity into what really takes place in that crazy cliffhanger of episode 16. Vincenzo has gone completely ballistic and sees blood. Expect a full, spoiler filled review of Vincenzo as it airs its finale. 

In a still from Vincenzo

Vincenzo Goes Dark (Episodes 17 & 18)

The episode was filled with so many insanely dark elements but the one that stuck to me was the bomb scene. I couldn’t get enough of how ruthless Vincenzo got by tricking the killers of Hong Cha-young’s father. He had placed the bomb in his vest and blows it right in the hall. My face was open the whole time I watched it cause I didn’t expect Vincenzo to just straight up start killing people. Hong Cha-young is scared but she then remembers the brutal death of her father and comes to terms with it.

Vincenzo episode 17 was filled with wins for the Geumga Plaza gang. Vincenzo utilizes each member of the plaza into his plan and each one works to his or her strength. The plot of catching Vincenzo keeps getting harder for the Babel group as they can’t figure out a way to deal with this mafia gangster. But Han Seung-hyuk comes up with a plan to get the Interpol on Vincenzo. This results in the Italian Interpol coming to Korea in order to catch Vincenzo and arrest him for good. At the same time, Jang Han-seo, who is aware about this, calls Vincenzo regarding an important piece of information. The showdown in the hockey stadium was filled with tension and when Jang Han-seo pulled a gun, I genuinely thought that they were going to make his character just like his brother. The Interpol comes in and just as they are about to arrest him, Jang Han-seo shoots Vincenzo. Again, a massive cliffhanger to end the episode on.

Vincenzo Fakes his Death (Episodes 17 & 18)

Vincenzo episode 18 finally told us that Jang Han-Seo wasn’t nearly as evil or dumb as his brother. He had actually sided with Vincenzo and everything was going just according to the plan. The bullet wound and the blood splatter was all mechanical and just as the Interpol guard comes near Vincenzo’s, supposedly dead, body, he wakes up and disarms the officer. Completely turning the tables upside down. Now the stakes are high, but the Mafia Lawyer came prepared and convinces them that Paolo has gone berserk. He even gives them valuable info in return for which, they leave Vincenzo. I adored Jang Han-Seo’s character development in this episode. He really forms a liking towards Vincenzo and it shows.

Jang Jun-woo is terrified and in Jail (Episodes 17, 18 & 19)

Overall this episode was a lot slower as compared to others and Vincenzo has to return to Italy to protect his family against more attacks from Paolo. This causes a sad atmosphere in Geumga Plaza where everyone is bidding him farewell, like he is going forever. It sure felt that way to be honest. But at the same time Jang Jun-woo deliberately goes inside Jail so as to be safe from the attacks of Vincenzo. This entire episode was basically him getting thrashed and chased off on streets. It was so fun and all the more satisfying to finally watch this happen. But some bad people are also after the security designer / hacker of the safe in Geumga Plaza. They get the safe open but to everyone’s surprise, there is no gold inside. A massive shock to everyone including the viewers. Seo Mi-ri rushes outside but the goons start harassing and beating her. And then they try to make a move towards Hong Cha-young but Vincenzo makes the perfectly timed entry yet again and saves his lawyer friend from getting hurt. This was just the most satisfying way to end the episode 18 of Vincenzo.

Choi Myung-hee Goes to Jail

In the Antagonist side of things, Choi Myung-hee is coming up with a plan to get Jang Han-seok out of the jail as soon as possible because things are sure crumbling around them. Hence she takes advantage of a loophole yet again and makes everyone believe that it was her who provoked Jang Han-seok to do those horrible things, which isn’t entirely false. At this point I am highly conflicted about who I hate the most, and most of times the needle tips towards Choi Myung-hee. Where Jang Han-seok is evil by his actions, Choi Myung-hee is insidious with every action she makes. The actor does a fantastic job in making me hate her character to the absolute core, sometimes even more than the main antagonist of Vincenzo. 

The Raw, Unfiltered Side of Jang Han-seok

Towards the end of the episode, Jang Han-seok gets fed up of how Vincenzo continues to triumph over him, and hence he makes a pledge that the next time he gets out of the jail, he isn’t going to be the same CEO. He threatens Vincenzo that he is going to go back to his primal, most ruthless state. In this moment, the series sort of goes back to the character we saw earlier, the character who killed his friends and snatched their watches as trophies. The inference of beating fire with fire isn’t usually right, but this is the way Jang Han-seok uses against Vincenzo. And Vincenzo only has the modt simple reply to him, “I love straightening delinquent kids”. 

Jang Han-seok ultimately gets out, and as expected, he goes for the one person who was able to trick and betray him. His brother, Jang Han-seo. He barges into the office and puts a gun on his brother’s head, but for the first time, Jang Han-seo isn’t scared. At least not in the way he used to be before. He is more acceptable of his fate than he has ever been before. With his own hun pointed between his forehead, he cries yet makes peace with what is about to follow. Jang Han-seok is caught off guard by this out of place courage in Jang Han-seo. I like to think that his plan was to kill him then and there, because Hong Cha-young was enough to lure Vincenzo anyway. But he keeps Jang Han-seo alive just to see him die in fear. Jang Han-seo had the upper hand, even in death. The episode overall was a spectacular buildup to what goes down in the finale. 

Vincenzo Finale

Vincenzo Finale: A Brutal End to the Mesmerizing K-Drama 

Jang Han-seo Goes Out Like a King

Vincenzo episode 20, the finale, felt like the goodbye I wasn’t ready for. It was heartbreaking, irresistibly satisfying and brutal in the most ruthless way possible. Brutal, I think, is a serious understatement for what goes down in the finale of Vincenzo. So Jang Han-seo and Hong Cha-young are held hostage and the maniac, Jang Han-seok, has lured Vincenzo right to him. He threatens his captives, by firing around them and beating them.

But Jang Han-seo has got some balls of steel. When he gets out of the cage of Jang Han-seok, his fear and his pretentious politeness are nowhere to be seen. He lets go of his brother to find another, in Vincenzo. So when Han-seok shoots Cha-young, Han-seo snaps and wrestles his brother with all his might. His rage, his anger and his sadness are all visible in those 20 seconds as he looks him right in the eye with a gun on his stomach, and says, “You should have never been born.” BAM! The gun against his stomach is fired and blood splatters from his back as he collapses with a look of content on his face. Vincenzo, finally acknowledges him as a brother, and in that moment, he had redeemed himself. 

Choi Myung-hee’s Last Dance

The deaths in this episode were both heartbreaking and satisfying. Having spoken about the heartbreaking one earlier, lets talk about the ones which made us scream with eternal joy and profound happiness. One such death was Choi Myung-hee’s. She sits in an abandoned building with feet which have flesh ripped out of them. The creativity in the killings of this episode was really something. It was plain Karma to say the least. A woman whose greatest getaway from her life was Zumba, js burnt alive to the tunes of Zumba. I know I sound like a total sadist, but hearing Choi Myung-hee scream and vail to the top of her lungs with none to help her, really sent a flurry of joy through my spine. 

Gotta admit, I don’t think I was ever fond of Han Seung Hyuk. His character neither fell towards the negative nor the positive side so in the end his arc just felt like it was going too many places. He was always caught up in saving himself, but after a while that got too repetitive for me to enjoy all that much, considering how the show really tries to make his character pivotal. Nonetheless, his death was probably the most amount of blood I have seen in this series, all at once. I assumed he would die some way, but stabbed in the neck was definitely not what I predicted. I am not sure whether I was supposed to feel happy or sad over his death so in the end, I felt nothing to be honest. 

Jang Han-seok is Served for Dinner

And Finally, the fall of the nemesis. Jang Han-seok’s death was always going to be the end of the show, so its obvious that they had to get his death right. And oh boy do they get it right. First of all, Vincenzo totally delivers on the promise that his enemies will beg for a quick death. Jang Han-seok is strapped on a chair which is connected to the most brutal mechanism ever conceived. A needle which pierces your chest, one layer at a time. Jang Han-seok begins with a sly smug face, never anticipating that he wasn’t just getting a bullet in his head. No, he was getting something much slower, so slow that he would beg Vincenzo for a bullet. And like Vincenzo first friend in Korea was a Pigeon, Jang Han-seok’s last acquaintance was a crow, poetic indeed. 

Vincenzo is truly one of the most iconic K-Dramas I have seen in recent times. It never wastes a single moment, a single character and tries to create every emotion possible with a scene. These 20 episodes felt so nourishing, that even when I crave more of it, I can hardly say that I was left discontent with how the show turned out to be. It was phenomenally rich, brilliantly acted and beautifully shot, and it sets the bar for K-Dramas an inch higher.

Vincenzo Series Critical Reception

Vincenzo has a rating of 8.3 on IMDB.

The Movie Culture Synopsis

Vincenzo is all things cheesy, thrilling, funny and satisfying. It is the perfect stress-buster for anyone looking out for a simple and fulfilling piece of entertainment. With fine production quality and an array of amazing performances, Vincenzo is truly turning out to be a game changer.

Vincenzo is available on Netflix to watch.

Author

  • Hardik is a Mumbai based writer who is a cinephile. Nothing interests him more than movies and visual entertainment. His other hobbies include reading and singing (At least, he likes to think that he sings well). You can connect with him on his Instagram.