Home » The Netflix Fast And Furious Knockoff Was Ruined By One Huge NASCAR Mistake

The Netflix Fast And Furious Knockoff Was Ruined By One Huge NASCAR Mistake


I was planning to do a review on Netflix’s car flick “Seoul Vibe” because it features a lot of Rad-era South Korean car goodness we never got. It’s not a great film, but it’s worth a casual watch as an enjoyable romp through a late 1980s Seoul that I’ve never seen before. Unfortunately, there’s one big NASCAR-flavored anachronism I can’t get over.

South Korean is having a moment, with both the film “Parasite” and the TV show “Squid Game” dominating conversations recently. While they’re both different genres, each project is a reflection of the country’s creatives grappling with the impact of rapid industrialization and the resulting economic disparities. “Seoul Vibe” isn’t exactly in the same tradition, though it isn’t without some societal critique.


Set on the verge of the 1988 Seoul Olympic games, the whole nation of South Korea is coming to terms with the end of a military dictatorship and the rise of a new, democratic society. The loose plot of the film is that wheelman Park (portrayed by Yoo Ah-in) wants to race in the United States and get out of the country with his pack of friends and his sister. They get busted bringing in un-taxed Air Jordans and other goods from Saudi Arabia but the prosecutor, a noble investigator, will give them exit visas in exchange for their help in bringing down a corrupt ex-military leader (an allusion to Chun Doo-hwan) and his fixer.


The film is less influenced by the other Korean cinema of the moment than it is by “The Fast and the Furious” franchise and John Woo’s Hong Kong cinema (there’s even a big reference to “A Better Tomorrow” playing at a cinema in a scene). Most of the Woo influence can be felt in the very dark, slightly violent turn the film takes in the middle of the film (meted out by a bad guy that looks like a Korean man pretending to be Bruce Campbell pretending to be Elvis Presley, if that makes sense).

The “Fast and the Furious” influence means modified cars. Lots of modified cars. There’s a super clean first-gen Hyundai Grandeur, a modified Pony Pickup, a second-gen Sonata, and a bunch of other things I can barely recognize.


I can recommend the film as a casual, airplane-watch, but there’s one thing I cannot stand and it’s an extremely obvious anachronism. Park’s best friend is played by Ong Seong-wu and he’s charming in the role as the fun buddy character. He also gets some great outfits, including a throwback American NASCAR shirt.

T Shirt

That shirt? As you can see above it portrays Bill Elliott and his McDonalds car. It’s an awesome shirt and 1988, when this is set, is an awesome year for Bill Elliott because he won the Winston Cup Championship in his Coors/Motorcraft Ford Thunderbird. It’s a great idea for a shirt. But it’s extremely the wrong shirt!


What does the shirt show? It’s clearly his late ’90s McDonalds Ford Taurus. If I had to guess, it was his 1998 Ford Taurus stock car. This means that a main character in the movie is flaunting a shirt from an event that wouldn’t happen for ten years. If it was a one-off thing I could hold my nose, but the guy wears the shirt for the entire last third of the film.

So, yeah, it’s a completely fine movie, but we just expect better out of big budget projects! The 1988 Coors shirt would have been equally as cool.

Photo credits: Netflix, Hyundai, Ford


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23 Responses

  1. I’ve always wondered whether movie industries really care about accuracy, or if they just want an excuse to write-off vehicles and bling that they want to own, which they’ll buy for a song after the flick is completed.

    How many hot cars from movies end up in the director’s garage?

      1. Time traveler: Shows up in 1988.
        Korean dude: Tell me about the future. Do we have flying cars?
        T.T.: Well they were about 2 years away but then the second Trump presidency…
        KD: Wails in despair
        TT: Dude, sorry for all that, Ummmm here’s a T-Shirt from when I was a kid. Gotta go

  2. I kinda feel like this is the South Korean version of plenty of U.S. productions back in the day having characters with dubious Asian-language tattoos b/c badass.

    Or as Sheldon once asked Penny, “why do you have the Chinese character for soup tattooed on your lower back?”

    1. I totally want this to be true, like the director intentionally stuck this shirt in as revenge for the 85 gabillion bad Asian stuff Hollywood throws into movies.

  3. This is Karma. Bad Asian remakes of American mediocre films as a result of Hollywood remaking movies and TV shows of quality into poor US productions. I mean Top Gear vs Top Gear USA, Junkyard Wars, Dr Who, any war movie where the USA soldiers were the heroes vs not in real life. Frankly with the existence of 2000 TV Channels I have a hard time finding anything to watch vs deciding between 2 shows.

  4. “Flaunting a shirt”
    Ha, yeah, looks like the comments on last week’s article about nose handles came in handy for providing a good vocabulary lesson about “flaunting.”

  5. As a Bill Elliot Fan I’m upset but not surprised. It could have been worse they could have put a Jimmy Spencer McD’s shirt. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common in the film industry. Dale Jr produced a docuseries about the early American car history. Yup prop master just dropped a 60s era 4-barrel carb right in the middle of the table. Captain America The First Avenger has a modern Evo engine. Similar issue with Glow on Netflix. It had a modern sportster instead of a late 80s single cam. Dallas Buyers Club had a modern Lamborghini poster instead of a period correct Countach poster. These are the little things I notice. It’s wrong, a great prop master would see these things, sometimes they’re over worked and miss some details. I also look at other things like period correct stage lighting. Looking at you Death on the Nile and Glow.

  6. These are tiny hills to die on (tm Wittertainment (hello to Jason Isaacs))) are always irritating if in your field of expertise/interest, utterly irrelevant to everyone else!
    Out of period cars are always one of mine, or even all cars being of the very year it was set, rarely are older cars seen. Ie a seventies set film won’t have a good mix of sixties and fifties cars on the road like real life.

  7. These are the types of minutiae that can completely ruin a movie for me. No matter how much I try, I can’t look past stupid things like this when they happen. Usually they’re more of an engineering or physics faux pas, which makes watching some sci-fi really difficult.

    1. I ruined Casino Royal for all those around me in the theater because I saw the pulse on the neck of Eva Green. This was the scene on the top of the building in Venice. She was “dead”, Bond had just done CPR (badly), and the camera shows her lying on the roof, “dead”. I was there with a bunch of other EMTs/Paramedics, so I called it out. “Pulse!” They all laughed with me. The rest of the full theater, not so much.

      It can be really difficult to turn off training like that.

      1. Thanks for doing what you do – crazy hours, horrible wrecks & incidents, incredible stress…I don’t know how first-responders can do it but I’m damn thankful that you are out there. I’ve had a few unwanted ambulance rides this year but the EMT’s are the best.

    2. Yeah, one specific sci-fi thing that has annoyed me in multiple films (“Avengers: Endgame” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” spring to mind) is this recurring idea that ships traveling through space need to continue burning fuel in order to maintain speed.

      Endgame opens with Tony Stark stranded in space in a motionless ship without fuel. But as long as he was previously traveling in the right direction, that ship should still be hurtling along toward Earth at the same rate of speed. The only way his ship is out of gas and stationary in space is if he actually spent the last of his fuel thrusting in the opposite direction to bring his ship to a stop, which seems like an odd choice so far from home.

      Meanwhile, in The Last Jedi, there is a prolonged sequence where the rebel spaceship fleet is running from the baddies in a straight line and monitoring their rapidly dwindling fuel supply as if they have to keep their foot on the gas to overcome some non-existent drag.

      Somehow these seem even more egregious than the fact that almost every movie that has had space combat includes sound effects, or the fact that dogfighting spaceships always move in ways that mimic dogfights in atmospheric flight, because at least I can see those as stylistic choices whereas these are actual plot points that requires you to ignore physics.

      I mean, I have no problem suspending my disbelief in order to enjoy space wizards and superheroes, but I draw the line at running out of gas when there’s nothing to slow you down. 🙂

      1. Then there is people saying “rate of speed”. Since speed equals velocity which is the rate of distance over time, would “rate of speed” actually mean acceleration since that would be change of speed over time?

        1. I knew as I made a physics-related comment that I had to be committing some blunder that someone else would pick up on and correct, so thank you for stepping into your destiny and fulfilling the prophecy.

          I’ll try my best to retire “rate of speed,” but old habits die hard! I’ve already spent DECADES trying to carefully say “nuclear” instead of “nuke-u-lar” like I did in childhood, but man, sometimes the old ways have a way of creeping in when you don’t expect it, and somehow I suspect I’m going to say “rate of speed” at least a few more times before I get it right.

      2. Like the Screenwriter Guy in the Youtube Pitch Meeting series says, “I don’t understand physics, nor do I ever want to learn!”

        I see this in a lot of movies. (Looking at YOU, Peter Jackson! The Hobbit should NOT have video game physics!)

        Of course the whole slow-speed ‘car chase’ in space was ridiculous to anyone who thought a few seconds about it. If conforming to physics, the movie would have been over in 10 minutes or fewer.

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