The Continental: From the World of John Wick 2023 / A cinematic miniseries that delivers on the promise of kinetic action, but not on world-building


It would be unfair to demand the same things out of The Continental that the John Wick film series already does so well. And this three-episode prequel definitely works as its own animal; even if you haven’t seen those increasingly elaborate Keanu Reeves movies, this miniseries easily finds a whole group of sympathetic characters worth rooting for and builds to a series of exciting set pieces full of personality and excellent choreography. The groundedness of The Continental’s ensemble of heroes emerging from the seedy streets of this fictionalized 1970s New York works surprisingly well against the arrogance of the show’s villains. And the world they all inhabit is rendered just as slickly as in the films.

But in its search for an identity of its own, The Continental becomes a reminder for why the John Wick movies work so well—and why this series just can’t capture the same spark. Those are simple, primal movies that contrast Reeves’ stoic, mythic protagonist against a bizarre world of colorful enemies. The Continental, in contrast, borrows from many hardboiled crime dramas but never actually provides any insight into the systems or rules that govern all the factions involved. Individual characters may achieve their goals by the end, but it’s ultimately hard to see how they add to the grander ideas of revenge and redemption at play.

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