The Continental: From The World of John Wick is a prequel series set in 1970s New York about The Continental, a chain of hotels around the world that serves as a neutral beacon for underworld hitmen and mercenaries, with the hotel workers of the Continental handling all those who come to stay. The series has a main focus on Winston who’s played by Ian McShane in the films, one of the primary characters in the well-known hit action franchise John Wick.
Pictured: Colin Woodell as Winston Scott — (Photo by: Katalin Vermes/Starz Entertainment)
We were fortunate to see the first episode “Night One” of the Prime Video series. With a very strong heist introduction with Frankie stealing an important relic, the exposition of the first episode fully immerses you into the 70s setting. An enigmatic way of setting the expectation upon the audience and especially in the way it began for pre-existing fans of the franchise that’ll notice many key references and style. However, the important backstory of seeing Frankie Scott (Ben Robson) later revealed to be Winston’s brother, began with a heist scene involving an intense combat sequence. He took down his foes with such ease in a way that resembled John Wick (the adored Keanu Reeves.) Director Albert Hughes’ understanding of capturing that same feeling and intensity of Chad Stilheskis’ John Wick movies was apparent. Creating more interest and understanding for Frankie and the motives behind him and why he’s been separated from his brother Winston for 20 years.
Cormac (Mel Gibson)
Furthermore, with a strong premise of story in introducing Young Winston (Colin Woodell) as we know him well enough for his charm and charisma. We’re introduced to him with a new actor (Colin Woodell) a prime casting for the character, he resembles that of Ralph Macchio, quite ironic as he was a born and bred New York native – it’s effective. It’s not long until Winston is kidnapped in London then transported to New York to see The Continental’s current hotel manager and crime boss Cormac Fitzpatrick (Mel Gibson) who’s presence is established from the first moment on screen. He brings Winston back home in hopes to locate Frankie, as he stole the relic from him.
In the middle of that we have law enforcement that are trying to understand what’s going on in The Continental, so we are introduced to detective KD (Mishel Prada) and her officer Mayhew (Jeremy Bobb) who both have this classic rookie cop meets veteran cop duo. KD’s willingness to explore The Continental gives us a perspective on strangers to the underworld, although Mayhew warns KD of the area not being there problem.
Pictured: Mishel Prada as KD — (Photo by: Katalin Vermes/Starz Entertainment)
Winston begins on a personal journey to find his brother before Cormac’s army gets to him first. Along the way, we come across ‘Burton Karate’ owned by Miles (Hubert Point-Du Jour) and Lou (Jessica Allain) that run this dojo who know of Frankie, are approached by Winston. It was certainly giving off Cobra Kai S3 vibes with that dojo entrance and it mirrored that scene when Daniel entered the Cobra Kai dojo. It’s not long Winston locates Frankie along with his supposed partner Yen who’s been hiding with him from Cormac but shortly after they are being chased down by his henchmen to have the priceless relic back.
Lou (Jessica Allain), Miles (Hubert Point-Du Jour)
The classic young/older brother dynamic between the brothers was flushed out well throughout the episode until the very end, on a very emotional sacrifice by Frankie determined to gain safety for his brother and lover, by holding onto the relic and jumping out of a helicopter as they escaped. Then one angry and determined Winston saying “I need guns, lots of guns” resembling revenge like John Wick was an audacious end to “Night One”. Frankie was a very solid character and it was a shocking way to begin the series, which is a common theme in the world of John Wick.
Pictured: Hubert Point-Du Jour as Miles, Jessica Allain as Lou — (Photo by: Katalin Vermes/Starz Entertainment)
There’s been so many fun references to the John Wick movies in this episode and overall in terms of filmmaking, directing and writing, it was as good as it could be to achieve a strong opening to this series. It was very familiar grounds for John Wick fans, action was phenomenal, stakes were high, fast paced and one multifaceted rollercoaster of emotions. I throughly had a blast watching it – and so will you.
Reviewed by Shamoon Saeed