Korea – Common Economic Space’

Release date: 06/24/2022

Platform: netflix

Cast: Yoo Ji-tae, Park Hae-soo, Jeon Jong-seo, Lee Won-jong, Park Myung-hoon

Director: Kim Hong Sun

Here are 5 reasons to watch Money Heist: Korea Today

Money Heist: Korea – Common Economic Space (MHK) is an official remake of the immensely popular series, Money theft A.K.A Money Heist created by Alex Pina which was later acquired by Netflix. While the core story and characters remain the same in the latest iteration, it’s the backdrop of the North and South Korean conflict and the fictional idea of ​​reunification between the two countries that makes this iteration of the different story from its predecessor.

The manufacturers of MHK also changed some characters and their stories to better fit the narrative. These changes also tell us a lot more about the inspirations these characters have for doing what they’re shown. These were the elements that caught my attention in the series and it wasn’t long before I realized I was watching a series that tried to be similar to its predecessor but also put in enough new material and characterizations to present itself. as a new Show. There is no need to review this series in terms of story, action, surprises, thrill and drama. What’s needed here is a close look at what’s been changed from the originals in this iteration, and whether or not that impacted the original story enough to make it worthy of repeat viewing.

The fictitious concept of Common Economic Area:

The teacher in Money Heist was a thief and belonged to a family of crafty thieves and did what he was shown to do in order to get revenge and also because stealing impossible things kicked him. Interestingly, the teacher here is actually a teacher. The series originated from the fictional idea of ​​the reunification of the two Koreas (North and South). While implementing this integration, the professor is asked to draw plans for the merger and also suggest the best modus oparandi for the same. It was during this exercise that he came across something that made him question his actions and set him on the path to looting the Mint located inside the “Common Economic Zone” complex and making place for a huge sum of money. We have yet to be shown what triggered the professor, but it is evident that he was disappointed by what he saw during his association with politicians and bureaucrats and was inspired to do what he does throughout the series.

For me, it was a much better and more touching setup than Alex Pina’s in the original. This not only makes the Professor a much better and respectable protagonist, but also stacks the stakes for him much higher than before. The loot is not only for them to have a good life, but also to disarm a corrupt and polluted system that wins and prospers at the cost of human lives and existence.

Characters from both sides of Korea who leave a huge impact:

Whether it’s the thieves, law enforcement, or even the Mint’s workforce, the characters are an eclectic mix of individuals from both sides of Korea. This creates interesting dynamics and friction between the characters that can only be imagined and executed in a situation that prevails between the two Koreas. I can’t blame Alex Pina for missing out on this unique opportunity because he didn’t have this unique conflict to start with in his original iteration of the series. The Rogues are an eclectic mix of both Koreas and their stories are equally interesting. Berlin is shown growing up in a concentration camp and this explains his manic ways with people and situations. Tokyo was nearly sold into prostitution as she sought a better life in South Korea from the North. She is shown singing at a North Korean karaoke bar and falling prey to South Korean loan sharks and pimps whom she eventually kills. She is then on the run from the South Korean police before being recruited by the professor. Her story is compelling and far more relatable and emotionally reliable as she endured true tragedy and was literally forced into a corner for doing what she was shown. Such depth was lacking in Tokyo’s character development in the original.

The security forces are also a mix of North and South and they have big trust issues with each other, especially the North vis-à-vis the South. It takes them a while to get into the rhythm and even after that they are constantly hiding information from each other, which leads to some interesting situations. Even the mint workforce has characters on both sides of Korea and those in the North hate their cowardly and manipulative leader, Cho Young-Min (Park Myung-Hoon), a character who is a replica of Arturo. Novel from the original series. As the story progresses, this hatred leads to some interesting situations and causes some members of the Mint to even side with the thieves.

Much nicer characters:

Every character in this series is significantly friendlier than in the original. Berlin was my favorite character in the first season of Casa de Papel. The Berlin iteration we get here will easily be most viewers’ favorite character. He is someone who has had a torrid past which has made him a marauding and psychotic go-getter who knows nothing but to succeed and do things his own way, even if it means killing. Park Hae-Soo absolutely kills as a character and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he owns the character and goes far beyond what Pedro Alonso could ever do.

Jeon Jong-seo as Tokyo is a breath of fresh air after Úrsula Corberó’s immensely irritating, annoying and, in the end, loathsome interpretation of a female character meant to be inspiring and reminiscent of the searing flame of the empowerment of women. The manufacturers of MHK skillfully craft a believable story for the Tokyo character that explains her sense of comfort in combat and with weapons. They completely get rid of the boring love story he was shown before falling head over heels in love with Rio in the original. In the first 6 episodes of the series, the love angle between her and Rio is just beginning and it unfolds in such a subtle way that it hit me right away. I don’t know which direction the story will go in the next 6 episodes but I like how the character has gone so far. Jeon Jong-seo is much more poised, barely exaggerating, and much friendlier than Úrsula Corberó’s portrayal of the same character.

Quivering chemistry between Kim Yun-jin and Yoo Ji-Tae:

Yoo Ji-tae as the teacher and Kim Yun-jin as Seon Wo-Jin, the chief police negotiator are cooking up a storm between them. The chemistry between the professor and Raquel in the original was fantastic too, but there’s something so likeable and natural about the pair here that it quickly overshadowed my memories of everything I loved about the professor and Raquel . The emotional elements between the two are much more pronounced, and they spend a lot more time in each other’s company, which leads to them understanding each other better. This in turn ensures that the romantic relationship between the two blossoms much more naturally and is much more believable. The fact that both actors are at the top of their game only adds to the charm inherent in this aspect of the series.

I last saw Yoo Ji-Tae as the infamous villain in Old boy. Even there, he was so charming in his portrayal of the character that it was hard to hate him. As a teacher who has had his heart in the right place from the very beginning, Yoo Ji-Tae has the luxury of turning on the charm and he does it in his trademark style. He was a character that was tailor-made for him and he plays to his strengths throughout. Kim Yun-jin complements it beautifully throughout and at the same time leaves her mark too.

Serious and believable approach to storytelling:

Going through the first 6 episodes of this series, I realized that the creators took a much more serious and grounded approach to storytelling, action sets, plot twists, and especially the tone of the narrative. New angles and characters are added which change the narrative to some extent and are always there for the better. Performance is much more grounded too. This can be noticed in how the Denver, Berlin, and even Nairobi characters are toned down from their previous iterations. All of these changes have worked well for me on the show.

Last words

The next 6 episodes of the series will determine whether the creators will dare to make substantial changes to the narrative making this series an essential watch or will they stick to the tried and true formula and serve up a dish that has proven itself before. Anyway, I will be waiting for the next 6 episodes of the series, and only after that will I decide whether to stick with this series in the future or miss it.

Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 stars)

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Floyd N. Morlan