|Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
|Episode 11 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 17 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 18 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 19 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 20 – | Review Score – 4/5
Vincenzo is an interesting Korean drama, one that’s essentially the sum of two parts. The first presents a gritty, gangster-esque thriller, complete with hand to hand combat, shootouts and tense stand-offs between characters.
The other is a more straight forward law drama, sprinkling in bites of slapstick humour and a colourful ensemble of supporting characters. The result is Vincenzo which feels like the Korean equivalent of marmite – you’ll either love it or hate it.
At the center of this though is Italian concierge Vincenzo Cassano. In fact, the opening scene is among one of the best released on the small screen this year. Within this, Vincenzo drives up to an estate in the heart of Italy, eventually making his presence felt by burning the place to the ground.
This unfortunately brings a lot of unwanted heat on Vincenzo, who finds his boss dead and Vincenzo – given he’s the right-hand man – forced to flee back to Korea. It’s here where the series begins switching the tone to more slapstick comedy, alternating between these two jarring states and taking a good while to actually settle down into a consistent rhythm.
The story essentially sees Vincenzo evading the authorities but on the hunt for a lucrative stash of gold, hidden below an indifferent apartment complex called Geumga Plaza. Only, it’s easier said than done to retrieve the goods. With pressure sensitive timers and very few ways to break in, Vincenzo finds himself entangled with the residents in a bid to try and break out the gold.
To complicate maters further, the Geumga Plaza residents find themselves caught in a difficult housing dispute with Babel Group, a nasty and ruthless organization fronted by the maniacal mind of its Chairman, Jang.
What follows from here is a bitter feud that grips the 20 episode series, with Vincenzo begrudgingly (and then willingly) fighting for the residents while trying to protect his assets. When Babel group make things personal, Vincenzo lashes out with all the fury of the Mafia man that he is, raining hell down on his enemies. The only trouble is, the enemy he faces is pure evil.
Along the way, numerous faces join the hunt on both sides of the conflict. There are a lot of characters here and the show does a surprisingly good job giving them all a consistent arc and lots to do. Although the ending does leave a lot to be desired, the rest of the series actually adds in a fair number of sub-plots to keep them all busy.
One of the more prominent examples of this comes from Chairman Jang Han-Seo, who has a wonderful journey across the 20 episodes. Likewise, some of the residents in Geumga Plaza really do grow a lot from their original placements, with each learning lessons along the way courtesy of Vincenzo’s tough love.
While the show is enjoyable, Vincenzo suffers from a pretty turbulent first half. It takes a long time for this one to settle down and actually find its footing. That’s a real shame because when it does, this show fires on all cylinders. The second half in particular features some of the best material in the show by a long stretch. There’s some epic cliffhangers, wonderful twists and some pretty shocking reveals too.
Tonally, Vincenzo is a bit all over the place but when it actually manages to strike its right balance between thriller and comedy, Vincenzo does well to come into its own.
With a pretty conclusive ending and lots of ensuing drama along the way, Vincenzo is a really enjoyable Korean drama with memorable moments and some excellent character growth. It may not be the best of the year, but the good points certainly outweigh the bad, making for a highly enjoyable series.
Verdict - 8/10