K-Movie Review: ‘Seoul Vibe’ A Car Chase Movie Without a Car Chase

seoul vibe review

Edited by Eungee Joh
Translated by Hana Lee

seoul vibe review
Credit: Netflix

A Netflix movie came out in the summer of 2022, captivating many viewers with vivid colors and thrilling car chase scenes with a scoop of hip-hop and retro-inspired fashion. Here, we’re talking about Seoul Vibe. Set against the backdrop of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Seoul Vibe follows a team of young drivers as they set off on an undercover mission to dismantle a massive money-laundering ring backed by the former president of the country in hopes of achieving their American Dream.

Ahead of the Olympic games, Dong Wook (played byYoo Ah In) and Joon Ki (Ong Seong Wu) encounter prosecutor Ahn’s men on their way back to Seoul in their vehicle filled with smuggled goods and cash from a foreign country. By using the car borrowed from Bok Nam (Lee Kyu Hyung), the two successfully shake off the shady men chasing them and meet Woo Sam (Go Kyung Pyo) and Yoon Hee (Park Ju Hyun) at their hideout. However, the prosecutor soon raids the place and makes them an irresistible offer: they must infiltrate a money laundering ring to erase their criminal record and gain visas to the United States.

Seoul Vibesuccessfully grabs viewers’ attention with groovy music and a vivid visual effect that complements the story. As soon as Dong Wook team up with Bok Nam at the airport, viewers get to see them engage in a car chase, using classic vintage old cars that satisfy viewers who have always wanted to see a true Korean car action movie. Moreover, Bok Nam’s yellow uniform that matches his cab and Dong Wook’s thick gold chains around his neck add vibrant colors to the film and build expectations for what’s coming next.

seoul vibe review
Credit: Netflix

However, the first car chase scene didn’t live up to the hype and paled in comparison to those from many Hollywood films. Using classic cars was perhaps the wrong choice as they couldn’t fully bring out the speed or stunts needed for the movie. Although viewers get to see some impressive action scenes towards the end, the movie still lacks enough action to convince us to sit through it.

Furthermore, the movie fills the screen with an impressive classic car collection consisting of old Hyundai Grandeur, Sonata, Stella, Excel, Kia Pony and Daewoo LeMans, but it serves nothing other than evoking the nostalgia of the bygone 1980s even when they get repaired and rebuilt by the hands of skillful mechanic Joon Ki.

The prosecutor calls the former president a “dictator” and traces down the dirty money he swept under the carpet. By including such scenes, the movie carefully brings out the true event where an actual former president of South Korea got indicted on charges of bribery stemming from the slush fund he amassed in office. Despite mimicking the genius faction format used in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, it makes viewers slowly tune out of the show by featuring the hilarious voice of the so-called former president, which sounds nothing like the former president himself.

Nonetheless, the ending makes up for the struggle to follow the story. Towards the end, the movie features jaw-dropping skydiving and airplane explosion scenes that really highlight the true friendships between the characters, ending exactly the way it should have when the real president got indicted 30 years ago.

Seoul Vibe is a movie that focuses on delivering the 1980s vibe in Korea rather than action and character development. Those who remember the certain era may enjoy the movie, but it will hardly appeal to car chase film fans and those who do not know much about the Korea of that era.


Editor Eungee Joh: If you are a fan of K-pop culture or looking for a new show to watch, you can count on me to find your favorite artists and keep you updated with new content!


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