Money Heist Korea review


Money Heist recently returned as a Korean remake, and it’s currently #1 on the streaming platform. Starring actors with solid acting chops, Money Heist Korea proves once again that the Korean entertainment industry has not come to play. Our review of Money Heist Korea will tell you why you need to watch this series ASAP.


When all hope is lost, burglarise the Mint


Money Heist Korea follows the plot of the original series closely, save for some localisation changes. The Professor – the mastermind behind the heist – comes up with a plan to burglarise the Mint in the Joint Economic Area, where the unified currency of both Korea is printed. 

He gathers a team of individuals with questionable personalities and even more dubious pasts, and together they plan to pull off the biggest heist the world has seen before disappearing into thin air with 4 trillion won.


Highlights


1. Hopes of a better life are crushed


Money Heist Korea review - Hopes of a better life are crushed
Image adapted from: Netflix

The episode opens up with the monologue by the show’s main narrator, who is later identified as Tokyo. She talks about her life living in North Korea, such as enduring hardships and having to join the military. 

Money Heist Korea review - Hopes of a better life are crushed
Image adapted from: Netflix

During her time serving in the military, a piece of pleasant news is bestowed upon the people of both Koreas: North and South Korea will establish an economic community and collaborate to create a common currency. 

Money Heist Korea review - Hopes of a better life are crushed
Image adapted from: Netflix

Money Heist Korea review - Hopes of a better life are crushed
Image adapted from: Netflix

This plan also welcomes the construction of the JEA – the Joint Economic Area – where North and South Koreans can visit, work, travel, and set up businesses freely. 

Money Heist Korea review - Hopes of a better life are crushed
Image adapted from: Netflix

Like many North Koreans, Tokyo promptly leaves Pyongyang for Seoul to pursue the “Korean Dream”. 

Money Heist Korea review - Hopes of a better life are crushed
Image adapted from: Netflix

However, reality often strays from expectations, and this was exactly the case for Tokyo. She is scammed by her immigration broker and forced into odd jobs, and even resorts to escorting to get by. 

Money Heist Korea review - Hopes of a better life are crushed
Image adapted from: Netflix

Many other Koreans also suffered the same fate at the hands of selfish and greedy businessmen, and subsequently turned to drugs as an outlet. 

Money Heist Korea review - Hopes of a better life are crushed
Image adapted from: Netflix

It seems like the only people who can benefit from the re-unification of the two Koreas’ economy are the rich and powerful.


2. Meet the crew


Money Heist Korea review - Tokyo is on the run after murdering loan sharks targeting vulnerable North Koreans
Image adapted from: Netflix

Tokyo is on the run after murdering loan sharks targeting vulnerable North Koreans. She’s approached by the Professor, who offers her a spot in his heist crew. 

Money Heist Korea review - the Professor
Image adapted from: Netflix

When introducing the crew to each other for the first time, the Professor tells everyone to drop the formalities and to come up with nicknames for each other for privacy’s sake. 

Money Heist Korea review - the Professor
Image adapted from: Netflix

He suggests using the names of cities, such as ideal cities they would like to live in, for their new monikers. 

Money Heist Korea review - Rio, the team’s IT specialist
Image adapted from: Netflix

Rio, the team’s IT specialist, chooses the city Rio due to his interest in Samba music. 

Money Heist Korea review - Denver, who has extraordinary combat skills
Image adapted from: Netflix

Denver, who has extraordinary combat skills, takes up the nickname Denver as his favourite movie is Rocky

Money Heist Korea review - Denver’s father, Moscow, is an expert at mining
Image adapted from: Netflix

Denver’s father, Moscow, is an expert at mining. He chooses his code name due to the fact that his late mother used to dream about travelling across the globe from Busan to Moscow. 

Money Heist Korea review - Nairobi used to be a counterfeit artist and claims to have a lot of experience in crimes
Image adapted from: Netflix

Nairobi used to be a counterfeit artist and claims to have a lot of experience in crimes. She greatly appreciates the diamonds from Nairobi, hence explaining her choice in her nickname. 

Money Heist Korea review - Helsinki and Oslo are a duo who used to be fixers from China
Image adapted from: Netflix 

Helsinki and Oslo are a duo who used to be fixers from China. They supposedly eliminated their old gang and are the only 2 survivors. 

Money Heist Korea review - Berlin is one of the only people who successfully escaped from the torturous Kaechon concentration camp in North Korea
Image adapted from: Netflix

Berlin is one of the only people who successfully escaped from the torturous Kaechon concentration camp in North Korea, making him a greatly feared figure. 

Money Heist Korea review - Tokyo explains her reason for picking the city as her code name: because they were “going to do a bad thing”.
Video adapted from: Netflix

Last but not least, Tokyo explains her reason for picking the city as her code name: because they were “going to do a bad thing”.  


3. The Professor’s perfect scheme


The Professor’s plan was to overtake and rob the Mint of 4 trillion Korean won, but it didn’t simply end there. He carefully considered the different scenarios that could occur and how to deal with them. 

Money Heist Korea review - the special task force consisting of both North and South Korean soldiers storms into the venue
Video adapted from: Netflix

After staging a negotiation with the robbers, the special task force consisting of both North and South Korean soldiers storms into the venue. 

Money Heist Korea review - The Professor’s perfect scheme
Image adapted from: Netflix

Even though the number of armed soldiers greatly outnumber the heist team, the robbers aren’t caught off-guard at all. In fact, the Professor had planned for this all along. 

Money Heist Korea review - the Professor's perfect scheme
Video adapted from: Netflix

The team took hostages and made them dress up in disguises. As the hostages donned the same outfits as the robbers and were even armed with fake guns, the task force couldn’t tell them apart. 

Money Heist Korea review - the perfect scheme
Video adapted from: Netflix

The task force, viewing the scene through cameras, stares in disbelief at the sheer number of “robbers”, especially after the Professor duped them into thinking there were only 4 on the team.

Money Heist Korea review - The Professor’s perfect scheme
Image adapted from: Netflix

The daughter of the US ambassador and the Director of the Mint are made to film a live-streamed hostage video, urging the officials to abort their invasion and to continue negotiations. 

Money Heist Korea review - The Professor’s perfect scheme
Image adapted from: Netflix

Without risking the lives of their own crew and agitating the officials by hurting the hostages, the heist team manages to take their first win over the police and military.


Verdict: 4/5


Although the plot of Money Heist Korea largely follows the original’s, the localisation of the story makes this spin-off fresh and intriguing. On top of that, the story weaves in bits of Korea’s history and culture without coming across as preachy. 

With a promising narrative and action-packed scenes that will excite adrenaline junkies, the first episode is proof that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel if it isn’t broken. 


Money Heist Korea review: money is the root of all evil


The first episode kept us on our toes, anticipating the next turn of events, and we look forward to what the rest of the season will bring. 

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Cover image adapted from: @NetflixKR, @NetflixKR

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