‘Vincenzo’ K-drama Review: A tale of dualities

Stories of good over evil are a very common cliche when it comes to stories. What if there was a story where one demon was brought down by another? That is the kind of story ‘Vincenzo’ K-drama is.

Vincenzo‘ is a 2021 South-Korean television series, which was on the South-Korean cable TV channel TvN and is also available on Netflix. The series is written by Park Jaebum and directed by Kim Hee Won. It stars Song Joong-Ki, Jeon Yeo-been, Ok Taec-yeon, Kim Yeo-jin, Kwak Dong-yeon, and Jo Han-chul in leading roles.

The series is about the mafia consigliere from Italy, Vincenzo Cassano who has returned to South Korea. Initially, he returned to take out something he had hidden under a dilapidated building. However, he ends up meeting other characters along the way, and his goals change. He eventually decides to join the Jipuragi law firm to help Hong Cha Young and solve the case of her father’s murder.

The Duality in ‘Vincenzo’ K-drama

The visuals of Vincenzo are grand. The larger-than-life action scene keeps one on the edge constantly. On the other hand, the storyline itself is rife with humor. One finds oneself drawn into the tragic death of a character one moment, and then moves on to a relieving grand revenge scene in Vincenzo Cassano’s style. The next moment we find ourselves laughing at a funny scene, and then be drawn back to anger and shock due to the actions of the Villains. The storyline is definitely dramatic. Everything is larger than life, exaggerated. That is what is the most entertaining about this series. Every turn and twist shocks the senses. It leaves us clutching onto our seats in anticipation.

Vincenzo dramtically leaving in his car after setting his father's enemy's estate on fire
Vincenzo dramatically leaves in his car after setting his father’s enemy’s estate on fire

Within that impossibly grand storyline is also bits of truth. Vincenzo Cassano is a mafia consigliere. He definitely was not a hero. He kills without hesitation and is full of schemes. However, when he comes to Korea, we see that even legally compliant people are just as bad if not worse. In Korea, we see all kinds of corruption are interlinked with the justice system. Vincenzo, the high and mighty consigliere is conned within the first few moments of his landing in Korea by the cab driver. Such humorous ironic events are rife in this drama.

Morality and the Characters of Vincenzo K-drama

In ‘Vincenzo‘ is a drama that constantly flirts with the ideas of morality. Each character in this drama is not what they seem at first glance, and almost none of them are completely good. Our female lead Hong Cha Young too is not a saint. At the beginning of the drama, she is shown to be working for Wusang Law firm; It is a law firm that mainly tries to cover up the wrongdoings of the Babel Group. Hong Cha Young too has been involved in facilitating corruption. She is unfazed, till her father is suddenly murdered mysteriously for messing with the Babel Group. This becomes a turning point for Hong Cha-young, who decides to uncover the mystery of her father’s death.

Hong Cha-young and Vincenzo on their way to court in 'Vincenzo' K-drama
Hong Cha-young and Vincenzo on their way to court in ‘Vincenzo’ K-drama

Despite changing for the better, the methods that they use to fight their enemies are not clean. Unlike protagonists of other such shows related to law, the Vincenzo and Hong Cha-young use all methods possible to win their cases. This shocks even the villains, who are usually the ones to use unscrupulous methods. Vincenzo and Cha-young, with the help of their paralegal and the tenants of Geumgwa Plaza shamelessly craft plots to trap their prey.

The Villains of ‘Vincenzo’ K-drama

The villains of ‘ Vincenzo’ K-drama on the other hand progress from being just evil to psychopaths. Towards the end, Jang Han Seok becomes almost animalistic. He barely resembles a human and turns into a full monster. Lawyer Myunghee too gets worse, almost as bad as Han Seok. Jang Han Seo (Jang Han Seok’s brother) on the other hand, starts out as a player of the enemy camp switches over later. He goes on to become one of the nicest characters towards the end, making the viewer root for him.

The villains of 'Vincenzo' K-drama
The villains of ‘Vincenzo’ K-drama
Jang Han-seo with Vincenzo
Jang Han-seo with Vincenzo

The Tenants of Geumgwa Plaza

The tenants of Geumgwa Plaza deserve a special mention. Despite seeming to be common people, each one of them has a secret side to them. The laundromat owner is an ex-gangster. The financially struggling couple used to be weightlifting champions. The gloomy-looking piano teacher is actually a renowned hacker in hiding. Each one of the tenants becomes instrumental in helping Vincenzo and Cha-young out in their missions. The camaraderie among the people of Geumgwa and the Jipuragi Law firm trio is quite entertaining. Their interactions lead to many humorous and heartwarming instances.

The members of Geumgwa Plaza with Vincenzo, Cha-young and their paralegal, dressed up Cassano style in 'Vincenzo' K-drama
The members of Geumgwa Plaza with Vincenzo, Cha-young and their paralegal, dressed up Cassano style in ‘Vincenzo’ K-drama

Some Weaknesses in ‘Vincenzo’ K-drama

The drama starts out in an explosive manner(very literally). There is not a moment where one can rest. Each episode is packed with dramatic events. One can never be sure, whether the scene to come next would be a happy or a sad one. However, there is a sense of over-saturation towards the end. Having so many shocks, one would start to feel a bit numb to the new revelations. Perhaps, this problem could have been dealt with by making a second season. More episodes would definitely have been a welcome delight. It would have also given us a chance to fawn over Vincenzo Cassano longer.

There is also the issue of the 8th episode, where the queer character portrayed was not done justice. Portraying a homosexual man as an abusive pervert could be harmful. There are, after all, hardly any LGBTQ+ characters representations in Korean dramas.

Concluding Thoughts

‘Vincenzo’ K-drama is an overall entertaining watch. No moment is dull. Rather, we are left wanting more. The most satisfactory point of this drama happens to be the fate of villains. Revenge is served to all, ruthlessly. There is no mercy shown whatsoever. Vincenzo and Hong Cha-Young’s partnership is a delight to watch. Their bantering is hilarious. The way they show affection to each other too is never over the top but always hits the right spot. ‘Vincenzo’ K-drama serves as a perfect show to watch to let off some steam. It transfers us to a world of fanciful stories that we might find only in a noir film, but with a humorous twist.

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