The hotel from the John Wick films takes centre stage in an action-packed new series on Prime Video. Here’s why we’re excited about this cinematic TV event
By Chris Miller, Feature Writer
The John Wick movies have given us some fantastic, breathtaking entertainment in the past few years. Watching Keanu Reeves’ handsome, taciturn assassin weave balletically among henchmen and thugs as he smoothly takes them out one by one is never less than thrilling.
Aside from all that impressive action, one of the film series’ most successful aspects is its worldbuilding. From early in the first film, viewers have been fully immersed in a shadowy world of ne’er-do-wells, shady figures and freelance killers all operating by a clearly defined set of rules, with their own language and twisted but lucid ethics.
At the centre of it all is The Continental, the hotel that offers sanctuary to those who need it, with a strict ban on violence of any kind (a rule obviously made to be broken).
So how did these rules, this code, this haven for hitmen and women come to be? That’s what new series The Continental, coming to Prime Video on Friday 22 September, aims to show us. A prequel to the movies, it’s set amid a power struggle between the denizens of this secretive society. Here’s a look at what’s coming your way from the world of John Wick.
It promises an epic story of crime, violence, revenge, corrupted morals and classy menswear. Here are just a few of the reasons we’re excited about checking in to The Continental on Prime Video.
Winston Scott is a mystery
As played by Ian McShane in the movies, Winston Scott is The Continental’s smooth-talking proprietor. He’s decisive and even ruthless, but we’ve rarely seen him get his hands dirty. He seems more concerned with administering the hotel’s rules (and with fine couture) than in the violence that pervades his world. But surely he couldn’t have attained such a position of power without employing quite a lot of brute force?
The series – which casts Colin Woodell (The Flight Attendant) as the young Winston – not only reveals his rise to supremacy, it also fills in details about his background. And we meet his brother Frankie (Ben Robson, Animal Kingdom), who’s part of the same world. Could we also find out more about his predilection for cravats?
Different times bring different challenges
The series is set in 1970s New York – a full half-century ago. In the films, Wick and his fellow mercenaries use pretty basic non-digital technology, presumably because it’s harder for law enforcement to track. But they still live in a world of mobile phones and high-tech weaponry.
Not only were the tools of the assassin trade more basic in the 70s, the streets of New York were different too. Apart from anything, they were covered in garbage thanks to a long-running trash collector strike. It truly was another time. How easy is it to escape from a relentless killer when there are a few dozen overflowing bins in your way? We’re about to find out.
The series maintains a cinematic feel
Do John Wick fans want 30- to 40-minute episodes with short arcs and frequent cliffhangers? That’s barely long enough to start a vendetta, let alone see it through to its bloody conclusion. This series, billed as a television event, comprises three 90-minute episodes, a trio of movie-length stories giving the narrative room to breathe and the protagonists plenty of time to execute their plans. And their enemies. Widescreen-worthy action and an epic 70s soundtrack will also contribute to the extravagant scale of The Continental.
There’s serious talent behind the camera
Albert Hughes, with his twin brother Allen, was behind some of the most explosive and innovative movies of the 1990s including Menace II Society and Dead Presidents, and recently directed the historical drama The Good Lord Bird. He directed the first and third episodes of The Continental, while the second comes from Charlotte Brändström, a TV veteran whose work includes ambitious fantasy such as Outlander, The Witcher and The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power. It’s a fascinating mix of influences and backgrounds that should enrich the John Wick universe further.
The comeback of a 1990s almost-star
Peter Greene looked destined for great things after memorable bad-guy roles in Pulp Fiction, The Mask, The Usual Suspects and more, with his intimidatingly craggy face and air of authentic menace. It never quite happened for him, and many of the recent jobs listed on his Wikipedia page don’t even have links. But The Continental casts him as the younger version of Charlie, David Patrick Kelly’s clean-up man from the films, and it’s great – although obviously very unsettling – to see this charismatic actor back on screens.
When is The Continental series starting on Prime Video?
You can watch episode 1 of The Continental: From The World Of John Wick on Friday 22 September in Apps & Games > Prime Video, with the rest of the episodes coming to Prime weekly.
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