articleK-Drama

1980s-inspired action blockbuster “Seoul Vibe” marks a setback of Korean films on Netflix 

Overly complicated plots dotted with plot holes and unpolished SFX, the movie does not please their audience. 

When “Seoul Vibe” first announced their cast, fans were excited to see all familiar faces of the Korean film scene. Yoo Ah In plays the leading character Dong Wook, leader of the Samgyedong Supreme and the best driver in Seoul. Go Kyung Pyo transforms into Woo Sam, an unofficial DJ while Lee Kyu Hyung acts as Bok Nam, who knows the streets of Seoul like the back of his palm. 

seoul vibe

Park Ju Hyun plays Dong Wook’s younger sister, Yoon Hee, who heads the biggest biker club and the only female member of Samgyedong Supreme. Male idol Ong Seong Wu acts as Joon Gi who has a brotherly relationship with Dong Wook. Netizens are also eager for Mino (WINNER)’s minor appearance in the series. 

song mino

Set against the backdrop of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, “Seoul Vibe” follows the Samgyedong Supreme who participate in money transportation under a larger scheme of money laundering. In his first few steps in Seoul, Dong Wook is immediately approached by prosecutor Ahn (played by Oh Jung Se) to join  a secret mission. He is to meet the powerful Chairwoman Kang (Moon So Ri) and carry out any demand from this dangerous figure. 

A new democratic government is just established in place of a military dictatorship, the market is flooded with brands from the West, specializing from food to fashion. If Dong Wook succeeds, prosecutor Ahn will issue visas for the members of his gang and fly them to America and clear them of past records. 

seoul vibe

While the main plot of “Seoul Vibe” is reminiscent of the “Fast & Furious” movie franchise as well as “Baby Driver” concerning the transportation responsibility, Moon Hyeon Seong seems to have complicated the storyline. Several plot holes emerged: The settings change from Saudi Arabia and Seoul but Dong Wook suddenly claims to be the best drift driver in the world? Who are Dong Wook’s parents? What binds “Samgyedong Supreme” together?

While the first half is regarded as unnecessarily complicated, the second half treats viewers to a series of thrilling car races. The sequences of car chases, illegal city races and amazing spatial arrangement gain applause from the audiences. 

seoul vibe

The major plus point for “Seoul Vibe” is the character designs that are appropriate for the 1980s setting. Several popular vintage brands such as Stussy, Adidas and Kangol fill the movie. Everytime the Samgyedong Supreme shows up, they draw attention with unique and gaudy outfits.

Music is also an aspect mastered by the series. Woo Sam’s love for American hip-hop and local Korean pop ballads bring alluring OSTs to the film. 

seoul vibe

While plus points abound, they cannot salvage the less-rounded storyline that does not make full use of the talents of capable actors such as Oh Jung Se. He only appears briefly and disappears without a trace. Leading man Yoo Ah In remarks this movie as follows: “This is an action-filled movie, no need to use your brain to watch”.

Some netizens even think Korean Netflix production is having a setback with “Seoul Vibe”. After a 2021 dotted with hits such as the drama “Hellbound” and global phenomenon “Squid Game”, 2022 witnesses more unpolished works such as “Carter” and “Seoul Vibe”. Similar to “Carter”, “Seoul Vibe”’s special effects are still poorly made and hard to follow. 

seoul vibe

Several scenes of Bok Nam’s yellow taxi flying in the sky, blowing up and racing against other cars are obviously artificial. The special effects do not seem equal to the ensemble cast of the movie. 

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