Drive Back To 1988! Seoul Vibe Delivers High-Speed Chase Thrill With Hip-tro Vibes

Image credit: Netflix

With so many brilliant Korean movies and dramas coming out lately, there is one particular movie that we must talk about. Yes, I’m talking about Seoul Vibe! An exciting throwback to 1988 – the year South Korea hosted the Olympics and where Seoul Vibe takes places – you will find yourself reminiscing on the good ol’ times with the fashion, music, cars, and vibe found in the movie.

Check out Seoul Vibe’s trailer below:

What is Seoul Vibe about?

Set in one of South Korea’s most thrilling periods in contemporary history during the 1980s, Seoul was the site of significant global celebration that had the entire nation excited in anticipation as it served as the host city for the Olympics in 1988. In the midst of this is a group of close friends known as the Sanggye-dong Supreme Team, or the “Bbangkku family”.

The inspiration for the film Seoul Vibe came from director Moon Hyun-sung’s imagination of an unbelievable, large-scale crime occurring on the day of the Olympic opening ceremony when everyone is distracted. Director Moon uses the era’s definition and dominance of hip-hop as its backdrop to establish it as more than just a musical style.

The Sanggye-dong Supreme Team, the hippest, coolest youth of that era, takes center stage. They are a mismatched group that doesn’t give a damn about the armed forces, the police, or the justice system. These 1988 hipsters, who were fawning over all the latest styles in music, fashion, and vibe while dreaming the American Dream, accidentally became entangled in a VIP slush fund investigation.

The five characters, each with their own distinct personality, showcase the cars that dominated the streets of 1988, lively hip-hop music, and vintage clothing that is cool even by today’s standards. Dong-wook, the best drifter, John, the S.P.Y. DJ, Bok-nam, the human navigation system, Yoon-hee, the master of disguise and head of the motorcycle community, and Joon-gi, the MacGyver of Sanggye-dong, make up the squad. They live on the streets of Sanggye-dong, a district that was not included in the plans for the pre-Olympics development. Working flawlessly together to complete each part of the dangerous mission, there are moments of fun, camaraderie and thrill at every turn of the journey.

Who are the cast?

1. Dong-wook, the top drifter | Yoo Ah-in

The last time we saw Yoo Ah-in on Netflix was in the dark fantasy Korean drama Hellbound. Now back as the leader of the Bbangkku family and self-proclaimed best driver on the streets, he dreams about racing in the Daytona Continenal in US. So, when he was offered to work with Prosecutor Ahn to become the delivery driver of the VIP slush funds and successfully carry out the undercover mission, Operation Seoul Vibe, he could not refuse.

2. John, S.P.Y DJ | Ko Kyung-pyo

Another familiar face in the Korean film and drama industry, Ko Kyung-pyo plays the good-looking and charming John, a seminary graduate who turned into a DJ. He has an uncanny sense for music, and he creates a mixtape for each level of the task that fits the racing involved. He conducts surveillance while serving as the DJ at a party that President Kang is throwing. And when in jeopardy, he is not beyond leveraging his attractiveness to get out of trouble. You can also catch him on the popular Korean drama D.P. that aired in 2021 on Netflix.

3. Bok-nam, the human navigation system | Lee Kyoo-hyung

Acting as the big brother and navigator of the Bbangkku family, Bok-nam (played by Lee Kyoo-hyung), he is a taxi driver who has an impeccable knowledge of Seoul’s geography. He performs his duties as the car’s human navigation system flawlessly from the passenger seat. You will see him in his signature yellow cabby shirt and speaking in a Chungcheong-do dialect throughout the film. You might recognise him as the police detective in the zombie K-drama All Of Us Are Dead!

4. Yoon-hee, master of disguise on a motorcycle | Park Ju-hyun

The only girl in the group, Park Ju-hyun portrays Yoon-hee in Seoul Vibe, a character that sticks out from the rest due to her feisty personality, outstanding flair, and inexhaustible energy. Yoon-hee is the president of Seoul’s biggest motorcycle club as well as Dong-wook’s younger sister. She reminds me of Black Widow, as she is the one who is always saving the Bbangkku family whenever they fall into danger by disguising herself as a traffic officer or a cleaner to do so. You might recall her from another K-drama on Netflix, Extracurricular for which she won Best New Actress at The 57th Baeksang Arts Awards.

5. Joon-gi, MacGyver of Sanggye-dong | Ong Seong-wu

Ong Seung-woo is an idol singer who made his acting debut in the drama Moment of Eighteen, a coming-of-age story that did quite well. In Seoul Vibe, he plays the cherished youngest member of the Bbangkku family, Joon-gi. He is also known as the MacGyver of Sanggye-dong, a brilliant mechanic with a focus on car maintenance and restoration, and he dabbles in filmmaking as a pastime using his camcorder. He commits himself to developing a secret racing weapon and ensuring their cars are in prime condition for the operation.

Bonus: Galchi, Dong-wook’s rival | Song Min-ho

As a Kpop fan, I had to add in WINNER’s Mino who is making his acting debut as Galchi in Seoul Vibe. Growing up in Sanggye-dong with Dong-wook, he sees Dong-wook as his rival and continuously tries to prove himself as the better driver. Dong-wook is not too bothered about him as Galchi is always on the losing side. Their love-hate friendship is hilarious to watch! Not only that, he also took part in the movie’s OST alongside Gaeko from Dynamic Duo.

Why should you watch Seoul Vibe?

Here are 2 reasons you should be watching Seoul Vibe:

1. What goes around comes around — 1988 fashion trends still in vogue today!

The cast is dressed in eye-catching styles that would look good even in today’s fashion scene. Famous hip-hop artists from the 1980s like Run-DMC and N.W.A were referenced, and their looks included flashy gold accessories to show off a matching aesthetic. Over a thousand clothes for the actors were painstakingly designed, made, and collected by costume designer Choi Eui-young over the course of a year. You can expect a fantastic collection of 80’s styles and vibes from everyone in the movie!

2. Classic cars, a key motif in Seoul Vibe, blaze through the streets of 1988 Seoul in a dizzying display of thrilling chases and masterful drifting!

By accepting a task to transport slush funds for President Kang, the Sanggye-dong Supreme Team gets involved in a variety of thrilling high-speed car racing at each stage of the mission. Each one has the Bbangkku family showcasing skilful drifting in exhilarating chases through 1988 Seoul’s winding streets. The actors even went for driving lessons with professionals who specialise in drifting and racing before the filming to simulate genuine racing sequences. The vehicles that adorned Seoul’s streets in 1988, starting with the Pony pickup that dominates the scene, the Galchi family’s red Brisa, Prosecutor Ahn’s white Grandeur, Pride, Concord, and BMW M5, ignite excitement with their return appearance.

Check out Seoul Vibe on Netflix now!

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