The Continental: From the World of John Wick has been highly anticipated by fans of the John Wick film franchise, who have eagerly awaited a deeper exploration of the shadowy world of assassins and organized crime. Created by Greg Coolidge, Shawn Simmons, and Kirk Ward, this three-part prequel miniseries promises to expand the lore of the John Wick universe while delivering the action-packed sequences that have become synonymous with the franchise. However, in this ambitious undertaking, the series faces the challenging task of living up to the high standards set by the films.
One of the most commendable aspects of The Continental: From the World of John Wick is its unwavering commitment to world-building. The series transports viewers back to the gritty and crime-infested New York City of the 1970s, expertly capturing the essence of the era through meticulous production design. The streets are adorned with graffiti, the alleys are dimly lit, and the interiors exude an atmospheric authenticity. This attention to detail immerses the audience in a world that is both alluring and perilous. It's a world where assassins operate in the shadows, and every corner holds the promise of violence. The visuals not only pay homage to the time period but also enhance the overall viewing experience by creating an environment that feels lived-in and believable.
True to the John Wick brand, The Continental: From the World of John Wick does not skimp on action sequences. The meticulously choreographed fights and brutal confrontations maintain the series' signature style, offering moments of pure excitement and adrenaline. From an intense phone booth fistfight to a climactic final episode filled with gnarly brawls and bloody carnage, the series consistently delivers on its promise of relentless action. It successfully captures the essence of John Wick's world, where violence is not merely a means to an end but a form of art.
The Continental: From the World of John Wick introduces viewers to a diverse cast of characters who inhabit this dangerous world. While some characters shine with complexity and nuance, others fall short of expectations. Ayomide Adegun's portrayal of Charon, the Continental's concierge, is undoubtedly a standout performance. He masterfully captures the emotional complexity that Lance Reddick famously brought to the role, making Charon a compelling and enigmatic character. On the other hand, Mel Gibson's performance as Cormac O'Connor starts on a somewhat dull note but gradually veers into operatic and sinister territory as the series progresses. Gibson's over-the-top portrayal adds a layer of menace to the story, making Cormac a formidable antagonist. However, Colin Woodell's Winston Scott falls short of capturing the dangerous charm that Ian McShane's character exudes in the films. Woodell's performance lacks the gravitas needed to make Winston a captivating lead.
One of the major flaws of the series is its struggle to find its identity. The Continental: From the World of John Wick meanders between various genres, including heist, police drama, and crime thriller, before finally settling into its groove in the last episode. This inconsistency can be disorienting for viewers, as the series takes its sweet time figuring out what it wants to be. It tends to overstuff itself with supporting characters, subplots, and a mix of genres, which dilutes its impact. Unlike other successful spin-off series like "Cobra Kai," which expertly captures the essence of "The Karate Kid" films, The Continental: From the World of John Wick often ventures too far from the core elements that define the John Wick franchise.
The Continental: From the World of John Wick disappointingly opts not to delve deeper into the intriguing mythology of the John Wick universe. While the series does touch on elements such as the High Table and the gold coin currency, it misses a golden opportunity to reveal enticing morsels about Wick's enigmatic foes from the films. The world-building feels somewhat limited, and much of the series often resembles a generic crime show with only sporadic ties to the John Wick universe. Viewers are left yearning for a more comprehensive exploration of the intricate and mysterious aspects of this world.
The series does explore Winston's relationships, particularly with Charon, Cormac, and various supporting characters. Ayomide Adegun shines in capturing the emotional complexity that Reddick brought to the role of Charon, making him one of the series' highlights. Mel Gibson's over-the-top portrayal of Cormac adds a layer of menace to the story, creating a compelling dynamic between him and Winston. However, some character dynamics, such as Winston's budding relationship with Charon, feel underdeveloped and lack the depth needed to fully engage the audience.
The Continental: From the World of John Wick offers a mixed bag of action and storytelling. While it provides moments of intense violence and successfully maintains some of the franchise's essence, it falls short in terms of consistent character development and world-building. It's a series that will undoubtedly appeal to die-hard John Wick fans for its action sequences but may leave them wanting more in terms of depth and complexity. While it successfully expands the universe, it struggles to find its own distinct identity within that world. Ultimately, The Continental: From the World of John Wick is a hit-and-miss effort that adds a layer of backstory to the John Wick saga but doesn't quite reach the lofty heights of the films. It serves as a reminder that not all spin-offs can capture the magic of their source material, even when they offer glimpses into a world as intriguing as that of John Wick.
The three-part series explores the origin of the iconic Hotel for Assassins, the centerpiece of the John Wick universe. The series is seen through the eyes of young Winston Scott, who is drawn into 1970s New York to confront a past he thought he'd left behind. Winston charts a deadly course through the mysterious hotel underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the hotel where he will finally take his throne.
The Continental: From the World of John Wick
Based on Derek Kolstad's John Wick
Developed by Greg Coolidge, Kirk Ward, Shawn Simmons
Written by Greg Coolidge, Kirk Ward, Shawn Simmons Ken Kristensen
Directed by Albert Hughes, Charlotte Brändström
With Colin Woodell, Mel Gibson, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Jessica Allain, Mishel Prada, Nhung Kate, Ben Robson
Peter Greene, Ayomide Adegun, Jeremy Bobb, Katie McGrath, Ray McKinnon, Adam Shapiro, Mark Musashi, Marina Mazepa
Executive producers: Greg Coolidge, Kirk Ward, Basil Iwanyk, Albert Hughes, Derek Kolstad, Chad Stahelski, David Leitch
Production companies : Thunder Road Pictures, Coolidge Ward Entertainment, Lionsgate Television
Original Network: Peacock
Running time: between 82 and 90 minutes
Release date: September 22, 2023
Photos Copyright Peacock