Remake of La Casa de Papel, Money Heist Korea arrives on Netflix. Is this new version worth a look?
Money Heist Korea: Joint Economic Area is available in full from June 24 on Netflix. Episodes seen: 6/6.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
Korean version of La Casa de Papel. A criminal mastermind brings together eight thieves to stage a hostage-taking at the House of Currency.
WHO IS IT WITH?
For this South Korean remake of La Casa de Papel, the creator and screenwriter Ryu Yong-jae (film co-writer Peninsula), under the leadership ofAlex Pina (the creator of the original series), used familiar faces to attract audiences, starting with Hae Soo Parkwho portrayed Cho Sang-Woo (player 218) in squid game. He reprized the iconic role of Berlin in Money Heist Korea.
It is accompanied by Yoo Ji-taewhich we have already seen in Old boy by Park Chan-wook, who slips into the shoes of the brilliant and charismatic Professor. In front of him, we find the actress Kim Yujinknown for her role as Sun in Lostas Seon Woojin, the head of the crisis negotiation team during the heist – the equivalent of Raquel Murillo in the Hispanic version.
To embody the emblematic Tokyo, it is the actress Jeon Jong-seo, seen in particular in Burning by Lee Chang-Dong. To the rest of the cast of the series directed by Kim Hong Sun include new talents and South Korean actors and actresses who have distinguished themselves in rose water series or detective films or even well-tempered comedies.
WELL WORTH A LOOK ?
It didn’t take long to see a first remake of money theft on Netflix. Barely six months after the end of the Spanish series, the platform draws Money Heist: Koreaa new iteration of the hugely popular heist story that has found worldwide acclaim.
This South Korean adaptation incorporates all the ingredients that contributed to the popularity of the Spanish series: a gang of robbers led by a brilliant leader, an ingenious and spectacular heist, a police team overwhelmed by events and breathtaking twists. Let it be said, if you have already watched La Casa de Papel, you will have a strong impression of deja-vu in front of Money Heist: Korea.
It makes you wonder if fans of the original Spanish series will really bother to discover the South Korean remake, despite the success of South Korean productions, as evidenced by the incredible popularity of Squid Game. And yet, Money Heist Korea deserves a look, especially for what its subtitle “Joint Economic Area” implies.
A Casa de Papel on a political background
Because the series directed by Kim Hong-sun and scripted by Ryu Yong-jae situates its plot in an exciting geopolitical and socio-economic context. Indeed, Money Heist Korea is an uchronia which takes place in 2026 where the two Koreas would have made peace to constitute a common economic zone.
In the series, North Korea and South Korea miraculously came together for an overall economic development plan in a specific place: the ZEC (Common Economic Zone) which would replace the ZSC (Joint Security Zone), once a symbol of the division of the two Koreas.
This project promotes exchanges between the two Koreas and the creation of a single currency, thanks to the Money Factory and the Unification Committee. But with the advantages, also come the disadvantages: social revolts due to the rich who get richer and the poor victims of capitalism.
And it is this very particular context that the Professor will use to carry out his exceptional heist, which is also a well-oiled political coup. This singular geopolitical and socioeconomic environment makes it possible to offer a much more interesting background than that which was exposed in La Casa de Papel and to bring more depth to the characters, who had quickly become caricatural and unbearable in the Spanish series and who are in the Korean version more constructed and endearing.
Even if the question of the meeting of the two Koreas has already been mentioned in many Korean works, it is interesting to see it treated here in a series which is intended to have an international audience, not necessarily aware of the issues between the two Koreas.
Out of the 6 available, Money Heist Korea remains for the moment a little on the surface but we have good hope that it will be more incisive thereafter and that it will not hesitate to cut sharply as it was able to do in its own way. Squid Game.
Implicitly, Money Heist Korea still evokes the war, immigration and other political and social issues inherent in the two Koreas through the life course of the robbers. The cultural transposition has been done with care – as for the traditional Hahoe masks which replace those of Dali – and makes it possible to offer a new look at an already known plot.
Fortunately, the South Korean remake allows itself a few deviations – without ever betraying the original material – with new twists or different resolutions and even more subtle nuances, as evidenced by the way the Spanish Professor pushes up his glasses by the middle while the Korean Professor brings them up by the side branch.
In addition to its very striking characters, Money Heist Korea proves to be very good entertainment thanks to a controlled staging and a well-balanced rhythm for action scenes which are linked together with fluidity, so that the approximately 70 minutes that make each episode pass relatively quickly.
In short, Money Heist Korea does not reinvent the Money Heist formula, which made the heyday of Netflix, but brings it some welcome equations that offer more flavor and depth and distinguish it in a good way from the original series.