Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area

Money Heist: Korea-Joint Economic Area: A compelling K-drama based on a hit Spanish Netflix series

REVIEW: I believe this review should begin with several crucial disclaimers:

  1. I had never seen the original Money Heist, but I had heard of it and was aware of the hype surrounding the remake, and
  2.  I approached this series from the perspective of someone who only watches Korean and Asian stuff.

That could lead one to believe I’m biassed here, but I assure you that’s not the case! Indeed, the first moments in   Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area highlight a fundamental gap between perception and reality.

These distinctions and dichotomies – between perception and reality (life ended up being difficult for Tokyo, and the south isn’t what she expected), between North and South Korean culture/people/mindsets/, lived experiences, between a divided and unified nation, between the means and the ends – create a necessary foundation for the tension that will follow in subsequent episodes. Our narrator, along with others played by well-known K-drama actors and actresses (Park Hae-soo, Lee Won-Jon, Kim Ji-hun, Jang Yoon-Ju, Lee Hyun-woo, Kim Ji-hoon, and Lee Kyu-ho), is recruited for a heist by the Professor (Yoo Ji-take). The Professor believes that the JEA’s efforts to reunify have increased inequities, with the rich gaining richer and the poor increasing poorer.

Money Heist: Korea - Joint Economic Area: A compelling K-drama based on a hit Spanish Netflix series

The robbery would entail robbing and seizing control of the Unified Korea Mint, where a shared currency is printed. The goal is to print 4 trillion won to be distributed among the team, with the captives in the Mint forced to assist with the operation.

The end aim is obvious, and the Professor devises a detailed plan to achieve it. What he couldn’t plan for was how the connections would develop on-site. There had been some preliminary discussion of techniques for getting the captives to comply, but tensions between the heist team members rise, complicating the strategy. The bargaining team on the opposing side, led by senior inspector Seon Woo-jin, is taking advantage of this (Kim Yun-jin).

Overall, the interaction of these contrasts and dichotomies is more than enough incentive to give this series a shot. And, while it may appear uninteresting to those who have seen the original, it is worth emphasizing that this is a remake, not a spin-off, so that is to be anticipated.

The features that distinguish it as particularly Korean, such as the setting of reunification and the heist team’s employment of Tahoe-Tahoe masks (which create a visually striking reflection of the underlying tensions), would also appeal to K-drama viewers.


Overall, Money Heist: Korea is entertaining!

Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area is now streaming on Netflix.

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