A Closer Look at 'The Continental: The 'John Wick' Prequel Series You Didn't Know You Needed

By Felix Hawthorne September 22, 2023

Immerse yourself into the gritty, action-packed world of prequel series to the 'John Wick' saga, 'The Continental, which uncovers intriguing backstories about the infamous hotel for assassins."

Indulging in the thrill of the 'John Wick' franchise, the depth of character backstory and development doesn't often take center stage. However, moving into the streaming world favours those who appreciate a good yarn and this shift is evidence in "The Continental: From the World of John Wick," a beautifully executed but somewhat unnecessary prequel miniseries on Peacock with an unfulfilled promise of Keanu Reeves.

Underscoring the 1970s era, this three-part endeavour is best savoured with its adeptly chosen period song-score that efficiently crafts the atmosphere of a grungy, mysterious New York during the era of disco. The choice of songs, featuring tracks like Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," alongside the signature 'John Wick' fight scenes, make "The Continental" an enticing spectacle.

The series' storyline dives headfirst into the history of the Continental hotel, a known sanctuary for assassins, the cryptic entity referred to as the High Table, and good old hotel keeper Winston Scott (Ian McShane in the 'John Wick' movies), masterfully portrayed by Colin Woodell. However, as a younger Winston merely treads the entrepreneurial path, an intense, action-packed predicament arises when his militant brother, Frankie (Ben Robson), ruffles feathers within the High Table.

Mel Gibson appears as Cormac, the owner of the Continental, who after a quest to seek out Frankie, adds a touch of true star power to the show. Although his eccentric performance can sometimes lead to a more humorous tone.

Winston, in the face of these daunting opponents, goes on a search for allies leading to more captivating storylines and thrilling action sequences. Although, it often feels like unnecessary time-killers waiting for the action to take center stage once again. While the series is enriched with intriguing characters, like the punch-first-think-later Yen (Nhung Kate), the screen time for the supporting characters, including recognizable names like Charon (Ayomide Adegun), doesn't stir up much interest for a backstory.

The show embeds quirky elements such as a fight with a contortionist and enlisting the hotel’s eccentrics in the chase for Winston. An acknowledgement to “The Matrix” accentuates the show’s quirky yet thrilling edge. Premium-TV standards are upheld with a healthy dose of action, language, violence, and sex.

Despite having plenty of action scenes, "The Continental" ultimately feels as if it's coming up short. Sure, for a streaming platform like Peacock with an opportunity to capitalize on the "John Wick" name, venturing into a period piece like this wouldn't take much persuasion. But, once the novelty of "The Continental" wears off, the hope of roping in viewers for future seasons may be a challenge Peacock should reconsider. "The Continental: From the World of John Wick" commences streaming on September 22 on Peacock.