When Money Heist: Korea was revealed by Netflix, much of the internet reacted with enthusiasm and trepidation about exactly how the Koreans would pull off this feat. For anyone who has followed Korean TV over the past few years, the quality has surpassed most of what’s been shown in Hollywood and by western studios, so the thought here was that the Koreans would do the same again. Alas, that’s unfortunately not the case.
With the decision to split the season into two parts, Netflix’s gamble for Money Heist: Korea hasn’t paid off. The first 6 episodes essentially rehashed the original Spanish version almost beat for beat, with a couple of deviating sequences to try and spice things up. Given how recently the show actually aired, the decision to just copy and paste the same story didn’t exactly go down well with audiences.
Part 2 then is more of the same, and that’s not a good thing in this case. The plot follows the latter half of season 1 and the entirety of season 2 for the original Spanish version across 6 more chapters clocking in at around 75 minutes or so each. The plot is very predictable for anyone who has seen the original and that’s a real shame. There’s one particular sequence that depicts a raid on a safehouse that stands out as wholly unique, but beyond that it’s business as usual for our heisters.
For those unaware, or for those who have no knowledge of the original, the story picks up with the Professor flying close to the sun. He’s approached by Captain Cha outside his house and is forced to try and keep his identity a secret from him and also from an increasingly suspicious Woo-Jin.
Back inside the Mint, the hostages start to rebel while the operation looks set to come undone at any second as military forces swell and prepare for an assault. Thankfully the Professor has a plan, but it’s not going to be easy. And not everyone is going to survive.
The story ends on a relatively good note though so there is at least a decent conclusion to this one, but on the whole Money Heist: Korea doesn’t really do anything all that original. It’s a shame too because the idea of a unified Korea is a good one, and there are some genuine moments of tension here that tease that union dissolving and turning into all-out war.
This political subplot, mostly involving Kim Sangman, works as window dressing though and is never explored as thoroughly as it should. I can’t help but feel seeing this erupt into some sort of chaos outside the Mint, almost ironically depicting that the safest place is actually inside rather than outside the Mint, and the robbers have to suddenly change tact and stay inside no matter what, may have worked to give this show some intrigue. Instead, we get the same story again but with an added Korean flavour.
It’s a shame too because the cast are fantastic across the board. Tokyo is less charismatic here than she is in the original, while Denver and Stockholm’s story doesn’t quite work either, but beyond that everyone plays their parts incredibly well.
Had the original come out 20 years ago and this Korean version revamped and renewed the story for 2022, maybe it might have gone over okay with audiences. As it stands though, releasing this so soon to the original, and repeating the exact same story beats and plot devices, just makes for a rather lazy and rehashed series.
It’s a shame but unfortunately this is one Money Heist you’re not going to want to see through to the end. Mostly because a lot of you will already know how it ends!
Verdict - 5.5/10