The Continental is a three-part limited series spin-off that is a prequel to the John Wick film franchise. Set in the 1970s, the series follows a young Winston Scott (Ian McShane in the films), the future manager of the Continental Hotel. If you’re unfamiliar with the John Wick series, the Continental is a hotel that serves as a neutral ground for assassins. The series explores Winston’s origin story and how he came to build the Continental into the iconic establishment that we see on the big screen.
Without giving too much away, The Continental follows young Winston Scott (played by Colin Woodell) as he tries to take revenge on the current manager of the titular hotel, Cormac (played by Mel Gibson, unfortunately). We get some of a backstory to Winston and get to see his friendship with a younger version of another character: Charon (played by the late Lance Reddick in the films, Ayomide Adegun in the series).
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My biggest critique of the series is the lack of what made the John Wick films so great: John Wick. Keanu Reeves is a big part of why John Wick works, so the lack of his presence in any way makes it feel incomplete. Winston is a great character in the films and Ian McShane is fantastic, but did we need a full origin story? Not necessarily, though Colin Woodell does his best to channel McShane in his performance.
Unfortunately, now we have to talk about Mel Gibson. I don’t know how he continues to get work, but I don’t imagine he had to act a whole lot to play Cormac. His presence taints the series (and ultimately the franchise) and it’s disappointing for the rest of the cast. Cormac could have been played by a number of actors, many of whom I’m sure would have been a better decision; someone actually Irish to go with the name (Brendan Gleeson comes to mind).
The rest of the supporting cast is fine, but there isn’t enough time to cover all of their backstories. Ayomide Adegun does a great job as young Charon, and I’m sure Lance Reddick would have given him praise for it. Mishel Prada and Jessica Allain also give good performances as KD and Lou, but we’ll have to wait until Ballerina to get a female-centered story.
Overall, I would say that The Continental provides disappointing service for fans of the John Wick franchise. It lacks interesting storylines and action, with the latter being an important component. It features some good performances from Colin Woodell and Ayomide Adegun, but Mel Gibson’s presence is a major distraction. If you’re a big fan of the John Wick films you might enjoy it when it arrives on Peacock, but sadly The Continental is the first misfire of the franchise.