GREEN SMURF AND GREEN SMURF
The problem of the remake is often fascinating. How readjust without telling the same thing ? How to renew what the public knows by heart? By tackling the proofreading of Money Heistseries Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area had several angles of attack. Change the political context, the team of robbers, the architecture of the place or even surprise on the very course of the heist.
Very quickly, we see that the main limit of Money Heist: Korea is precisely his (too) great loyalty to the Spanish series. Prisoner of her model, this Korean version shows us the same characters, with the same code names and the same narrative arcs. The creators of the series and the director Kim Hong-sun seem to have pushed this desire for loyalty to the casting as the physical resemblances with the original characters are obvious.
like deja vu
No major changes to report on the decor side either. If from the outside the bank looked very different, we quickly fall back on the same empty hall and the same interchangeable vaults. Difficult in such a context to appropriate the visual identity of a series with very identified codes.
Generally, Money Heist: Korea seems to be embarrassed by her model. Even in the development of the story, we remain on familiar ground. The twists follow one another at the same rhythm, less the feeling of novelty. Syndrome of this embarrassment, the series seems to have no idea how to use the famous masks robbers. They are shown to us every other episode to remind us that they exist, but they are never iconized as in Money Heist.
But why do we wear these masks?
Whether Money Heist had many flaws, the effectiveness of the series largely depended on his cliffhanger art. Each episode ended with a twist that made us want to continue without taking a break. We don’t totally find this addictive writing in Money Heist: Korea. And yet, the rhythm is much better.
With episodes all lasting almost an hour, the series is not chasing a quick and gratuitous shock effect. We take the time to develop the situations with real moments of pause which give more depth to the characters. The secondary characters take up less space, we get rid of several cumbersome narrative arcs. Forget, for example, the long sequences devoted to the romance between Tokyo and Rio. In this version, everything is dispatched in a few complicit glances without the need to explain their relationship.
The Spy Gone South
Another point that makes all the difference, the cast is absolutely insane. Getting the talented Jun Jong-seo to play Tokyo was a great idea. Brilliant in burning or The Callthe actress shines once again with a disarming magnetic charm. Another great choice, Yoo Ji-Tae as Professor. Unforgettable Woo-jin in old boy, he reminds us how his talent is matched only by his ability not to age. Without forgetting Park Hae-soo in Berlin, who reminds us of all the treachery that characterized him in Squid Game.
With these talents on screen, needless to say,we attach more easily to the team. Especially since slight changes in the writing are enough to make these burglars much more coherent. The conflicts within the group are less forced, the characters do not change character radically from one episode to another for the simple needs of the scenario. And the flashbacks bring a welcome new thickness to the writing.
A more cohesive and charismatic team
The first train to Busan
But if there is indeed a major change that makes all the interest of this Money Heist: Koreais its political significance. Money Heist was to the anti-capitalist series what the white rasta is to the cultural revolution. The now cult cover of a partisan song and three lines of balanced dialogue at the end of season 2 were not enough to make up a story as stupidly bling-bling as it is consumerist.
At the opposite extreme, Money Heist: Korea reminds us of the talent of Korean industry to create works that are both entertaining, popular and yet radically committed. One can think of the entirety of Bong Joon-ho’s cinema, of the killing game that was Squid Game and dozens of other works. Unsurprisingly, this new series is part of the logical filiation of its elders.
Alone against the world
From the beginning of the first episode, we are made to understand that the series takes place in the near future. A leap in time of three years which allows a fantasized geopolitical situation: the two Koreas are reunified. The famous “Joint Security Area” has been transformed into the “Joint Economic Area”. This original bias creates an exciting playground to comment on the conflicts between these two divided countries.
Especially since the message provided does not hide its pessimism. In Money Heist: Koreathe long-awaited end of the Korean conflict proves only one thing: unbridled capitalism will eventually turn any dream into a nightmare.
The series takes advantage of this by the way attack with virulence the fate reserved for women in Korean society. We perceive with uncompromising brutality the uninhibited misogyny of the bank manager, the suspicion of the investigators towards their colleague of the opposite sex. It is indeed through his political virulence that Money Heist: Korea just aim. Hoping that the next season will allow him to completely abandon his model while continuing to explore his strengths.
Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area is available in full since June 24, 2022 on Netflix