Throughout the John Wick movies, The Continental has been both a lair for New York’s endless supply of colourful killers, and a symbol of the rules that prevent them from murdering each other all day, every day. But in a world of kill or be killed, how did its manager Winston Scott come to have such a powerful position in the city’s criminal underworld?
That’s where The Continental: From the World of John Wick comes in. The three-part Prime Video series explores the hotel where the world’s most notorious assassins meet – and the origin story of the man who runs it.
For John Wick fans, anyone who enjoys a first-class mix of action and storytelling, or someone wanting to shake up date night with a different kind of flick, it’s one not to be missed. But in case you need persuading, here are five reasons to check into The Continental.
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The origin of the world of John Wick
The John Wick movies have been the rare example of an action series where the setting is just as colourful and memorable as the violence. Right from the start, The Continental has been a central part of the cinematic universe; this series is a chance to take a peek behind the curtain and see just how it became so important.
And then there’s Winston Scott (Ian McShane in the original films). Part judge, part enforcer, part hotel manager, he’s all but ruled the city for decades. The Continental is the story of his rise to power and just how many bodies he had to leave in his wake (here’s a clue: a lot).
It’s the prequel you didn’t know you needed
It’s the ’70s, and Winston (this time played by Colin Woodell) is not yet the all-powerful manager of New York’s finest hitman hotel, The Continental. But the man who is, Cormac Fitzpatrick, has him in his sights. Winston’s brother Frankie has stolen something that’s of great interest to some very powerful people, and Cormac wants Winston to help get it back.
Now Winston has a choice: sell out his brother, or put together the deadliest team New York has ever seen to fight back against Cormac’s army of killers. And you don’t get to be a serious player in the underworld by selling out.
The cravat is back – along with retro fashion
While it’s good to see that Winston has been rocking a cravat since the 1970s (his excuse? he’s been living in London), the series has clearly used the period setting as an excuse to go all-in on the funky fresh fashions of the time, serving up a lot of afros, flares, brown leather, funky tracksuits, muscle cars, and everything else you could want from a series set in the Mean Streets era.
There’s a new cast of characters to root for (and against)
Okay, let’s face facts. John Wick isn’t going to be doing his thing in this series. But not to worry – the new set of characters are more than able to hold their own. By the end, Wick might not even be your favourite from the franchise.
Initially stepping into the role of deadliest man alive is Winston’s brother, who not only takes out multiple threats with ease, but does it while rocking a very John Wick-esque look of his own.
But there’s going to be a lot of competition for that title, with dozens of other deadly assassins looking to rack up some serious kills. We’re talking everyone from the usual goons to snipers, kung fu killers, sword-wielding street samurai, deadly drivers, and someone shooting off a grenade launcher in the middle of the city. There’s a very good reason why at one point Winston says, “We need guns. Lots of guns.”
Action is your reward
The franchise is almost synonymous with insane levels of jaw-dropping action. For a series that is technically about a hotel undergoing a change in management, The Continental definitely delivers on that front. Guns, knives, swords, blunt objects, fists – they’re all used to take people out.
Even just from the trailer, it’s clear that the fight scenes are going to be something special. The John Wick movies set an incredibly high bar for big screen action, and this series looks like it’s fully committed to bring that bar to the small screen ¬– and then using it to beat down a lot of bad guys.
That’s the main takeaway from what we’ve seen of The Continental. Yes, there’s plenty of action. Yes, there’s a lot of fun backstory. But beyond all that, the series just looks cool. John Wick’s tradition of taking Hollywood action to stylish extremes remains in safe hands.
Best of all, though, the series can be a fun watch on its own. Haven’t seen any of the original flicks? Not a problem – The Continental does a great job of world-building around ’70s New York, introducing new (and unfamiliar) characters, and enticing you to keep watching even without any prior Wick knowledge.
The Continental: From the World of John Wick is launching on Prime Video on the evening of September 22.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Prime Video.