Edited by Seo Hae Lan
Translated by Kim Yoo Hyang
Song Joong Ki has returned as a mafia lawyer. Among the seemingly incompatible combination is screenwriter Park Jae Beom, who has been writing works criticizing the society, such as Good Manager and The Fiery Priest. The work has also been joined by Kim Hee Won, a director who established her reputation with Money Flower and The Crowned Clown. With renowned actors, talented screenwriters, and a famous director on board, will Vincenzo live up to the expectations?
As a former consigliere of an Italian mafia gang, Vincenzo Cassano comes to Korea after being betrayed by the organization. He aims to divert funds from the Triad, as it has lost its owner. The demolition of Geumga Plaza – where the money is buried under – is being competed over between the Babel Group and the residents. And behind them are Jipuragi Law Firm which fights for the vulnerable, and Woosang Law Firm which represents the Babel Group. Vincenzo assists lawyer Hong Yoo Chan of Jipuragi to avenge Babel Construction’s cowardly takeover of Geumga Plaza. His role to ‘assist’ and ‘support’ them changes from the fourth episode. As a partner of Hong Yoo Chan’s daughter Hong Cha Young, he uses the mafia’s means, methods, and abilities to go into war with Babel.
If you’ve only watched the first and second episodes and had the doubt whether the show is truly entertaining, you’re not the only one. Though when Vincenzo burned down Italian vineyards (which were all created by VFX due to the COVID-19 situation) the series remained as an action film-noir, it became a comedy when he was robbed as soon as he landed, or when he struggled in front of a showerhead. It is as odd as to how he lives in a shabby Geumga Plaza apartment and yet wears Italian luxury suits which are limited editions. However, as soon as Vincenzo threatens the demolition business’s representative with a tape measure, we naturally want to pay more attention to the drama. And so, Vincenzo does not let go of expectations and unravels its plot in earnest from the third episode. The plot progression is speedy, but it does not neglect the development of relationships between Vincenzo and the people around him.
Vincenzo is a show where the characters lead the drama. People including Vincenzo, Hong Cha Young, the residents of Geumga Plaza, those from Woosang and Babel, all have clear characteristics, simple enough to be easily described. The people in Geumga Plaza are funny as they are, but even funnier when they are together thanks to the actors’ acting skills. The opponent which is the Woosang Law Firm and Babel Group are also not your stereotypical villains. Choi Myung Hee who goes against Vincenzo and Hong Cha Young is a lawyer who wears sneakers and enjoys Zumba dance, yet a tougher and more cold-hearted person than anyone else. Kim Yeo Jin manages to depict the atypical character well with permed hair and a strong Gyeong-Nam dialect.
Some characters received mixed reactions from viewers after the first week of airing. As Jeong Yeo Bin illustrated Hong Cha Young’s character as a ‘quirky’ lawyer thirsty for success with her exaggerated acting, it was evaluated to not match the performance of Song Joong Ki’s Vincenzo nor the work’s overall tone. But a lot of things happened to Cha Young over the week, and Jeon Yeo Bin was able to capture viewers’ hearts by acting out the character’s pain and growth.
Despite everything, Vincenzo’s success depends on ‘Vincenzo.’ He is not an easy character, by all means. He is sensitive, gentle, ruthless, realistic, proud, and planned yet sloppy in some situations. Song Joong Ki gives this complex character a face and a story. Song Joong Ki successfully persuades viewers when Hong Yoo Chan and Hong Cha Young became attached to the people in the building, when they struggled to win the unbeatable battle, and when they became heroes even when they did not want to.
It is intriguing to see that both the director and screenwriter are making good use of Song Joong Ki’s ‘assets.’ Vincenzo is so handsome that he made a wine festival work in just half a day only using his face. As such as a storyline met Kim Hee Won’s directing, viewers watch Vincenzo’s face on the screen in awe. Perhaps that is why the last scene of the second episode is reminiscent of the film The Great Gatsby as if the show is declaring an even better utilization of Song Joong Ki’s face to lead the plot.
Several events have taken place so far within the sixth episode which had been aired. Vincenzo and Hong Cha Young faced Woosang Law Firm in court, and the real owner of Babal Group, the ‘real villain’ of the show, has been revealed. Expectations are growing on how Vincenzo and Cha Young will take down the evil’s den which is the Babel Group. Attention is also being focused on what will happen between Vincenzo and Cha Young, and her relationship with Jun Woo, a junior lawyer who has a crush on her. Above all, there’s something important still in question: the gold in the basement of the building. Will Vincenzo leave after achieving his original goal, or…?
Verdict: Just give it a go. You will fall in love with Vincenzo even without realizing it. (8/10)
Editor Seo Hae Lan: I’m not picky, and like all genres. I am in constant search of a balance between criticism and a fan’s heart.