ATTENTION: as you continue reading you may come across spoiler are The Continental: From the World of John Wick.
Between the theatrical release of the second and the writing of the third chapter of the saga dedicated to John Wick we began to talk about the creation of a prequel for television. Initially a murmur, nothing serious. One of those ideas that come during the brain storming, maybe discard immediately. One of those ideas that though they take root, from which in the end we can no longer free ourselves, which become an obsession. Until their catharsis of realization and subsequent broadcast.
The choice to opt for the small screen it was clear from the beginning. To be able to tell something about the past of John Wick one film wasn’t enough. Better to focus on a series. Maybe mini. Few episodes. Maybe three. With a beginning, a middle and an ending. That it did not leave any unfinished business and, at the same time, had a solid and significant structure that satisfied the public.
And so, there it is The Continental: From the World of John Wick (The Continental: From the World of John Wickthe original title) distributed in the United States on Peacock while in the rest of the world it is possible to see it Prime Video.
Because of this prequelwhich at the same time is also one spin offthe production company Lionsgate he hired Greg Coolidge (Cop on probation e Wayne) in the role of showrunner who created a team of screenwriters formed by Shawn Simmons e Kirk Wardwith whom he had already collaborated for Waynee Ken Kristensen (Shantaram e The Punisher).
They were chosen to direct Albert Hughes (Genesis Codecon Denzel Washington, e The true story of Jack the Ripperwith Johnny Depp) and Charlotte Brandström (Chicago PD, Okkupert, Madam Secretary e The Lord of the Rings – The Rings of Power) who divided the three episodes as follows: the first and third to the director while the central one to the director.
Both filmmakers brought their respective directors of photography with them: Pål Ulvik Rokseth (The Wave) e Peter Deming (Mulholland Drive e The Menu), while Raffertie, former composer for Alex Rider, Strangers e Top Gear.
And now let’s get to the point. In the meantime, it needs to be done a necessary and important premise: be seven fan If you’re a movie buff, put your expectations aside or you’ll be sorely disappointed. This triptych is not centered on the character of John Wick but rather on the world around him. And certainly one of the personages most fascinating within the saga, capable of creating a real mythology around itself, is l’hotel Continental of New York, with its peculiarity of being free zone which welcomes the killer most ruthless on the planet.
We realize how difficult it can be for lovers of the character played by Keanu Reeves to approach a product, especially a television one, that completely sets aside their main hero. But we can guarantee you that You will not regret it. Why the miniseries it deeply buries its roots in the atmospheres already known of the film saga in such a way as to be able to develop and enrich the universe, in full creative freedom wickiano offering new, potentially infinite ideas.
In the long shots that the director gives us of the exteriors of the Continental hotel there is a significant detail that immediately catches the eye, capable of creating strong opposition. While the sky is a celestial blue dotted with soft white clouds that opens up to boundless spaces, on the ground, on the damp asphalt, where the protagonists of the story live, darkness reigns. Unlike Magritte’s famous painting, The empire of lights, in the miniseries the transition from light to darkness is gradual, constant, you can clearly see it on the walls of the hotel which become darker and more obscure as the camera creeps into the alleys, sinking into human misery. The spectator is thus dragged to the ground and anchored there to a dark and oppressive, dirty and muddy atmosphere from which he will not be able to escape. Thus becoming an obligatory witness to the stories of a poorly equipped group who for revenge will have to clash against the bad guy of bad guys.
As we have already had the opportunity to say the episodes of The Continental: From the World of John Wick there are three, each lasting approximately ninety minutes. Three films, basically. Or, more likely, three acts of a great, majestic opera.
In the first act we are introduced to the protagonists. Two brothers separated as kids meet again when Frankiethe eldest, played by Ben Robson (Vikings e Animal Kingdom) is a big deal. On New Year’s Eve one year near the end of the seventies, Frankie decides to rob Cormacinterpreted by Mel Gibson, manager of the Continental. For this theft Cormac ends up in serious trouble and triggers a manhunt which begins with the kidnapping Winstonthe younger brother, played by Colin Woodell (The Originals), who has made a new life for himself in London, defrauding rich people.
Cormac, Frankie e Winston they have a common past. The two brothers, in fact, were raised and trained to commit atrocities by the hotel administrator who took full advantage of them over the years. Therefore, there is a relationship between them rather anomalous and ambiguous which is projected onto the other characters in the work.
Like any self-respecting drama, after introducing all the actors, the first act ends with a tragedy that will act as an impetus for the development of the plot and the consequent ending.
In the second act the preparation for revenge is staged. Winston won’t be able to rely on his own strength. So he will begin to organize his gang by gathering elements in some way linked together thanks to hatred towards Cormac from around the city’s slums. The first to join the gang are Miles e Lou (Hubert Point-Du Jour and Jessica Allain), African-American owners of a dojo in the midst of Chinatown and arms dealers. Next to them there will be the Vietnamese Yen (Nhung Kate) Frankie’s wife, Lemmy (Adam Shapiro) comrade in arms of the latter and Jenkins (Ray McKinnon), infallible sniper.
Two policemen travel at the same time: KD (Mishel Prada) who has an old score to settle with Frankie; And Mayhew (Jeremy Bobb) her mentor and secret lover.
In the third act, however, the realization of the plan is staged. Bonds that dissolve, alliances that are created on the field and last a night. A plan that goes to pieces right from its inception, as in the best of traditions. But which, despite everything, will end with the victory of the good guys over the bad guys.
The three acts of the opera are well balanced with each other, not at all boring, with the advantage of not leaving pieces of the story in an incomprehensible way along the way. Indeed, with all the time space there is, considering the duration of each episode, the authors managed to add interesting and entertaining subplots for each of the minor characters, capable of lightening the burden on the protagonists that would otherwise be unbearable. In particular the one dedicated to the Vietnam War, intriguing enough to even arouse a certain historical interest.
In the cast the interpretation of Mel Gibson and a cut above that of the others, as is obvious given that he is an actor and director of world caliber (and no longer a beginner, given his age). His character goes beyond all limits also thanks to the authors who, cheerfully overlooking political correctness, allow him to be intolerant, fanatical and petty by creating a bad old fashioned. The American actor gives the impression of bask in and have a blast in his role making his interpretation detonating and capable of holding the scene practically alone.
Among the young people, however, it is certainly necessary to mention Colin Woodell who during the three episodes it transforms before our eyes. From a London swindler with polite manners and elegant clothes he finally matures by facing the demons of his past. In the last scene, when he takes possession of the Continental we find him very similar to the cinematic Winston played by Ian McShaneas if he had appropriated the interpretation of others, giving the impression of having studied it in detail.
And, obviously, the interpretation of could not go unmentioned Ayomide Adegun in the role of Charonil concierge of the hotel. The young English actor, in his second experience as an interpreter, has the difficult task of representing the youth of the iconic character played by the late Lance Reddick. His interpretation is so convincing that it is not difficult to imagine him in the future with the face of the recently deceased actor.
Accompanied by a soundtrack extrapolated from the greatest hits of the seventies, decidedly pleasant, The Continental: From the World of John Wick it’s a miniseries that it deviates from its original matrix creating its own precise identity, clear, clear. Without smudges. And for this reason it is pleasant to watch even for those who are unfamiliar with it John Wick. It doesn’t take anything away from the film saga, if anything it adds by giving the impression of being able to expand the original world in a full-bodied and brilliant way.
For this first work, the effort made by the authors is clearly visible creating something unique and at the same time coherent with what we have seen so far at the cinema focusing mainly on an ironic and sumptuous style, a lot pulpcapable of throwing continuously input to the viewer. Quotes from B-movie clearly refer to Tarantino but not only. In fact, within these three episodes, there are references formal they are the order of the day and continually tickle the memory of the viewer without giving the impression of being a simple duty or an exercise in style. There’s some trash but treated with kid gloves so that everything it doesn’t end miserably badlyas we have often seen happen.
Perhaps you could say that The action scenes are a bit lacking. But the ones that are there are choreographed with great skill and leave you alone really more than satisfied and, above all, without regrets.
Even the reconstruction of New York in the Seventies, where nothing is left to chance, is a great sight and the directorial realization, winking both at cinematography and at comics art, allows a total immersion in a world between the real and the fantastic.
The Continental: From the World of John Wick And A great product worth looking at. It won’t be a masterpiece and purists will certainly have already given up on it but overall it’s one show which has more merits than defects, about which, moreover, one can very well bypass. The writer has seen the first three chapters of the saga dedicated to Baba Jaga appreciating them, of course, but without particular enthusiasm. But The Continental: From the World of John Wick it made him want to see them again, perhaps paying attention to certain details and certain nuances that he had previously missed.
And when a miniseries triggers the desire to delve deeper then it means he hit the mark.