Jeon Yeo Bin, Kdrama, Kim Yeo Jin, korean actors, Korean drama, Korean Films, Korean Movie, Korean TV series, Korean TV shows, Kwak Dong Yeon, Ok Taecyeon, Song Joong Ki, Taecyeon, tvN, Vincenzo, Yoo Jae Myung
Vincenzo is a stylish take on the revenge trope, but it’s accompanied with substance. An unconventional hero, or anti-hero to be exact, takes the center stage in a show full of thrills, humour and feels.
Song Joong Ki plays Vincenzo Cassano, a lawyer based in Italy who works as an advisor for the mafia. He escapes to South Korea after a war breaks out between gangsters. He then meets a righteous lawyer Hong Yoo Chan (Yoo Jae Myung) and his daughter Cha Young (Jeon Yeo Bin), also a lawyer but who doesn’t care about justice more than she cares for winning. Vincenzo then gets entangled in the affairs of a building and its residents, leading to his fight for social justice against a huge conglomerate called Babel.
One might take some time to warm up to Vincenzo. It takes its own time to set the stage and the players but once things are put into gear, there is no let up. The tone of the show is wacky where it is a mix of emotional drama, violence, thrills and screwball comedy, with some sprinkling of romance. The Italian relation of the hero is well accommodated through his style, language and background music.
The drama has a lot of characters — protagonists, lawyers, prosecutors, villains and a large number of tenants of the building where Vincenzo resides for an ulterior motive. Credits to the show to colour each and every character with distinct personality — everyone stands out. I have to say it took me a lot of time to be able to tolerate the tenants as they are super annoying and act entitled in the first few episodes. But gradually, they grew on me, some more than the others.
Vincenzo is brimmed with one thrilling turn after another. As the protagonists and villains face off each other, bringing their moves piece by piece, it never fails to get your heart pumping. The show is not hesitant to go dark and fatally injure its important characters, there is a sense of uneasiness about what’s to come.
The show amusingly juxtaposes its darkness with humor, be it the hero whose personality becomes goofier as we see his journey, the sassy heroine, even the bad guys and obviously the tenants.
There are twists in this tale but that’s not the focal point and it is not about ‘last minute revelation’ trope. The drama is more about how the good and the bad sides one up the other. It’s about the fight against injustice through applying all kinds of amusing tricks. The powerful background score adds another dimension to the drama. The whole team of characters working together definitely fills you up with adrenaline rush. Their wins are so cathartic!
Vincenzo is a fascinating character. He is not painted as purely white or purely black, lying in the grey territory. He has done bad things in the past, and his methods are not always right. But he has a human side to him which comes out at times even if he tries not to show it. You do want to root for him knowing fully well that he might have unwittingly killed some innocent people in the past. But in the present, it’s clear that he is on the side of justice. It’s great to see him warming up to the people he meets in Korea — lawyer Hong Yoo Chan, Cha Young, the tenants, his mother. I love how his personality is so calm and cool, but he can be intense when pushed beyond limits. He is intelligent, charismatic and confident but he doesn’t act stupidly in his heroics. He is also stylish, emphasizing his Italian upbringing.
Hong Cha Young is a sassy, playful and fearless heroine who doesn’t shy away from taking risks. We see her grow from a money-minded lawyer who works in a successful law firm and believes in winning, without caring to be on the side of justice. A personal tragedy makes her turn a new leaf and we see her growing into a virtuous lawyer. I have to admit that I found her too over the top in the beginning but as the drama progressed, she became very likeable.
Jang Joon Woo is another interesting character who starts off as a simple-minded and devoted assistant to Cha Young but we soon witness his many colours. We find out that Joon Woo is the main bad guy responsible for most of the evil things happening in the drama. He is creepy, a psychopath and evil in a crazy, heartless way. He makes an intelligent and proactive enemy to our protagonist. There is certainly a sinister vibe when we see him and a constant terror as to his next wicked move.
Jang Han Seo is another compelling character. There is a nice growth arc for him. When we first meet him, he is a stubborn but amusingly immature chairman of the Babel group. I love how he starts showing his human side when he comes in contact with Vincenzo. In part due to the compassion the latter shows which he never got from his older brother. I love how he switches sides and joins hands with the good guys. Though he is not completely blameless as he did perform evil deeds even if under the influence and fear of his older brother. I loved his babbling interactions with Vincenzo.
Hong Yoo Chan as Cha young’s father and an upright lawyer provides the moral focal point of the drama. His character is full of warmth and righteousness. I loved the growing camaraderie between him and Vincenzo and it was truly heart-rending to see him tragically and cruelly go like that.
THE MAIN COUPLE
The drama takes its own time to establish the romance between Vincenzo and Cha Young, with them starting as work partners, them moving on to become friends and finally lovers. I love their compatibility and respect for each other. Their interactions are funny and low-key romantic. The chemistry between Song Joong Ki and Jeon Yeo Bin is really nice and they look picture perfect with each other.
Vincenzo is blessed with strong supporting characters, each of them playing a crucial role in the story. Some definitely leave a deeper mark than others.
Among the employees of the evil law firm at the center, Choi Myung Hee is a corrupt, evil and conscienceless lawyer — she totally made me feel scared of her next move and I hated her with the heat of a thousand suns. Han Seung Hyuk is an interesting person with traits of being comical but also having a dark side.
Among the tenants, I was most impressed by Nam Joo Sung (the third mate of Vincenzo and Cha Young’s law team), Tak Hong Sik (the dry cleaner), Seo Mi Ri (the pianist) and the two monks.
I loved An Gi Seok as Vincenzo’s fan and intelligence agency employee — he is so cute and endearing and funny. Park Seok Do as a goon turned Vincenzo supporter also impressed with his humour.
Overall, the tenants have well defined and distinct personalities. I loved how they all helped our hero and heroine in their quest to achieve justice.
THE MINUS POINTS
As I mentioned before, I was super bored by the time spent on establishing the tenants and it took a lot of patience and time for me to find them tolerable.
I also think the drama got too dark and shockingly violent at times, which is not necessarily a bad thing in itself but I’m not used to such scenes in a Korean drama and I did find it unnecessarily gory.
The whole sequence involving President Hwang Min Seong also left an uncomfortable feeling. I agree that he was a contemptible person but the queer baiting angle was so no required.
Song Joong Ki owns the titular role of Vincenzo! He brings the perfect balance of calm and fierceness. I also loved his sense of humour, knowingly or unwittingly. After initial hiccups of overacting, Jeon Yeo Bin nicely delivers an effective performance, bringing emotions and sass to her character. Yoo Jae Myung gives a warm performance, bringing so much depth to the show. Taecyeon is amazing and delivers his performance with a lot of range of emotions. Kwak Dong Yeon is truly winsome and definitely a scene-stealer with his brilliant acting.
There are many supporting cast members in the show but shout out to Jo Han Chul, Kim Yeo Jin, Im Chul Soo and Yoon Byung Hee for their outstanding rendition of their respective roles.
IN A NUTSHELL
A heady mix of thrills, laughs and darkness, Vincenzo is a vibrant adventure with slightly blurred lines between right and wrong way to justice.
MY RATING: 8.5 out of 10