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Money Heist Korea Joint Economic Area Part 2 review: The Korean adaptation has an identity crisis

Money Heist Korea Joint Economic Area Part 2 struggles to find its identity in this messy caper, but manages to end on a high.

Money Heist KoreaA still from Money Heist Korea Part 2.
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Money Heist: Korea Part 2 continues from exactly where we left off–our desperate robbers in the middle of trying to print money at the Joint Economic Area Mint, while trying to look rather intimidating to their confused hostages. For those who have followed the original Spanish series, not much has changed and it does get rather predictable and chaotic along the way, just like its inspiration. The show struggles to save itself, but is still somewhat entertaining and has wild moments of action and fun with beautifully shot sequences.

In Part 2, the frenzy is upped as a traitor lurks within their midst along with a frustrated Berlin (Park Hae-soo). Someone is contacting valuable resources from the external world to deal with the biggest prize, Anne Lim, the teenage daughter of the US ambassador to Korea. The Professor continues his dangerous job of making sure the heist is as smooth as can be, while enjoying some seedy flirting with negotiator Seon Woo-jin to lead her astray on the crisis. His identity is at stake, because there are other diligent people on the case. Meanwhile, the blunt and grimy Tokyo, the ardent devotee of the Professor (and who is also in some situationship with Rio) is unable to keep the hostage under control. Denver has other problems; he’s developing feelings for the hostage he had previously rescued from Berlin’s wrath. So it is all a boiling mess of chaos, with tinges of romance and panic, and I don’t use the word mess loosely, because that’s what the series delves into halfway. It loses track of its own vague originality and what differentiated it from the Spanish series and attempts too many things and struggles to stop caving in on its own foundations.

Part 2 dithers in several episodes, and doesn’t quite have the flavour of fun like the first part. There was something novel and fresh when it began, because it had the North-South reunification in the background, with essence of Hallyu in it–like the BTS-bopping Tokyo. There were still the tensions between the people from the North and South and it enhanced the storytelling, making the Korean adaptation stand apart from the Spanish series. However, by the second part, these differences are left aside and that tension that could make the narrative twitch, is missing.

You’re introduced to an array of intriguing points and it’s dangled in front of you like a carrot, then the show skims through it whimsically. These characters with greys lose their spark, and we’re expected to root for them regardless, because well, they’re the protagonists. While Berlin’s backstory and the Professor are still riveting plot points, there is a chaotic collision of narratives in the second part. The political issues don’t get a resolution and the show gives a birds-eye view of them, which is a bit of a shame. It’s as if the showrunners forgot who this story was intended for. All said and done, the series ends on a high at least, in a powerful action sequence.

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The show is currently streaming on Netflix.

First published on: 10-12-2022 at 12:12 IST
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