'The Continental' review: Musty, a little dusty

'Yes, I'm young Winston, just don't ask me where my bulldog is.' Photos: Handout

"From the World of John Wick", proclaims the subtitle of The Continental, the new event miniseries comprising three movie-length instalments.

There's little doubt that it hails from the Wickiverse's quirky world of assassins and the ecosystem that serves them, given its mentions of the High Table, the presence of Adjudicators, those luvly gold coins, and a constant, casual disregard for human life.

Also, the folks behind The Continental figure that viewers coming into it are already familiar with all the above, as it wastes little time on mansplaining the whole set-up.

It's an origin story of sorts for the glib-talking Winston Scott, owner and manager of the titular hotel, played by Ian McShane in the movies.

In this 1970s-set series, Winston is played by Colin Woodell (The Purge Season One, The Flight Attendant) and is, appropriately enough, a high-society scammer of sorts when we first meet him.

The first episode (which is all we've seen at the time of writing) gets on with the action from the get-go as a heist on New Year's Eve turns into a bloodbath.

And then The Continental doesn't get on with it, slipping into second gear to set up the characters/pawns/eventual cannon fodder.

'All that buzz about my casting and the only things I do in the first episode are get betrayed, and make a toilet joke.''All that buzz about my casting and the only things I do in the first episode are get betrayed, and make a toilet joke.'

Long story shortened here, Winston is "summoned" back to New York by current Continental boss Cormac O'Connor (Mel Gibson), a fearsome-by-reputation overlord.

(Cormac doesn't do much more here than get betrayed by a trusted aide and later, make a bowel joke. One really hopes Gibson gets better opportunities in the subsequent chapters.)

Bottom line is, Cormac needs/wants Winston to retrieve something that was taken from him. And our reluctant conniving-hotelier-to-be would rather not, though he has little choice.

It's understandably paced a little more deliberately than your typical John Wick movie, but a familiar closing line promises unimpeded mayhem ahead.

What we get in the opener is a gradual exploration of the Wickiverse's assassin ecosystem, younger versions of familiar characters (Hi, Charon! Don't take any meetings with the Marquis, you hear?) appearing alongside others gone all too soon, with some light shed on the underworld's ties to law enforcement.

It also has a cool apropos-for-the-times soundtrack, yeah, and it's punctuated by bursts of violence slickly conjured by director Albert Hughes and his crew (he's one-half of the Hughes Brothers, who gave us From Hell and The Book Of Eli, among others).

With two segments yet to be viewed (one by the time you read this), it's a little early to pass judgment on The Continental.

'I know, I know, TV producers should really stop giving this reviewer the chance to keep making Hannibal Lecter references.''I know, I know, TV producers should really stop giving this reviewer the chance to keep making Hannibal Lecter references.'

Those who come looking for more of the Wick movies' trademark carnage may not have their appetites sated right away.

Also, the disconnected way in which supporting characters wander in and out of frame may not sit well with some.

(But heck, the best K-dramas often start out all random and disjointed before weaving their plot elements together wonderfully well ... hmm, guess I ought to cut The Killing Vote some slack then.)

With Chad Stahelski and his buddies from the Wick films overseeing the efforts by The Continental creator Greg Coolidge (Ride Along) and his team, we can be cautiously confident that their plan will come together nicely before the credits roll on the third instalment.

With most of us checking in here as fans eager to see more of this surreal parallel reality unfold before our hungry eyes, we trust The Continental's fine staff will ultimately give us cause to enjoy our stay.

The final episode of The Continental: From The World Of John Wick arrives on Prime Video on Oct 6.

6 10


That old hotel smell

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