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THE CONTINENTAL: FROM THE WORLD OF JOHN WICK: Episode 1.1: “Brothers in Arms”

"He Needs Guns, Lots of Guns"

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What You Need To Know:

Episode One of THE CONTINENTAL: FROM THE WORLD OF JOHN WICK takes viewers to the 1970s. Winston Scott (the title character’s mentor in the JOHN WICK movies) is a handsome con artist who wants nothing to do with the mysterious syndicate of organized crime that serves as the collective antagonist of the original franchise. Streaming on NBC’s Peacock outlet, the first episode begins Winston’s three-part origin story as he fights to earn his place as the respected Continental manager that John Wick fans know and love.

Sadly, the epic story in Episode One of THE CONTINENTAL is weighed down by a bloated runtime and excessive subplots. This is a typical problem in streaming television. Episode One of THE CONTINENTAL would have been better suited to a feature-length theatrical movie, where the 88-minute episode’s events could be reduce to 30 to 35 minutes. Despite some positive Christian, moral content, the characters act based on self-centered, hedonistic, violent impulses. Thus, the episode is filled to the brim with excessive immoral content, violence and foul language. The negative content renders the first episode of THE CONTINENTAL unacceptable.

Content:

(HH, Pa, C, B, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, A, D, MM)

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Primarily humanist, mildly pagan worldview, mitigated by some Christian, moral content where all the characters are primarily self-centered in their motivations, minor Christian elements where a man makes the Sign of the Cross and thanks God his friends are alive and a “Jesus Saves” neon sign appears, vices and decadence are portrayed positively, violence is universally considered an appropriate means of resolving conflict, the main character initially works on behalf of the corrupt Continental criminal organization but then turns against them, but his motivation is revenge, not altruism or morality, a number of dysfunctional family relationships are presented, but, in the case of the main character and his brother, their estrangement is repaired and they are shown to care deeply for one another’s best interests

Foul Language:
At least 60 obscenities (including 37 “f” words), two Jesus profanities and two light profanities

Violence:
Extreme, lengthy sequences of gun, knife and martial arts violence, a man falls down a stairwell to his death, a man is struck and killed by a car, a man threatens another man’s family to coerce him into killing himself, a man graphically hits the ground after jumping off a building, a man is repeatedly struck

Sex:
Three non-explicit scenes of unmarried couples having sex, two of which are adulterous in nature, one of which involves nudity, but silhouetted so that nothing’s visible

Nudity:
Brief upper female nudity, and a woman walks around in her underwear in one scene

Alcohol Use:
Brief social drinking at a New Year’s Eve party

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Woman smokes a cigarette but no drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
A man bulgarizes a hotel to rob a vault, characters deceive and betray one another, a man tries to con people into entering a business venture in order to get their money.

More Detail:

Episode One of THE CONTINENTAL: FROM THE WORLD OF JOHN WICK, streaming on NBC’s Peacock outlet, is exactly what it sounds like. The three-episode miniseries event takes the audience back to the 1970s, when Ian McShane’s Winston Scott (the titular character’s mentor in the JOHN WICK movies) is a devilishly handsome con artist who wants nothing to do with the mysterious syndicate of organized crime that serves as the collective antagonist in the original film franchise.

Portrayed as a young man by Colin Woodell, Winston is off in Europe swindling businessmen and living the high life. Until he’s summoned to the Continental Hotel in New York City by the manager, Cormac O’Connor (Mel Gibson, in a supremely phoned-in performance that’s clearly no more than an amusing side quest for the former leading man).

Cormac coerces Winston into helping him track down Winston’s estranged older brother, Frankie, who’s stolen an invaluable antique coin press from the Continental. The coin press is something that the Table, the 12-person high council of the criminal organization, will stop at nothing to recover (fans of the John Wick universe will recall the importance

of certain distinctive gold coins to the original stories). Knowing that finding Frankie is the only way to stop the Table from killing his brother, Winston reluctantly seeks out Frankie.

The brothers are reunited just before the Table’s henchmen arrive. Though they successfully fight their way to a helicopter and begin to make their escape, a sniper’s bullet takes down Frankie. Winston swears revenge for his brother’s murder, leaving the premiere of The Continental on a cliffhanger.

Fans of the JOHN WICK franchise, and Winston’s character in particular, likely will find such a story intriguing, if not downright riveting, at least conceptually, on paper. However, what sounds intriguing on paper is not so fascinating when stretched out to 90 minutes of screentime, something which could have been accomplished in a fast-paced first act of a standalone feature movie.

Thus, Episode One of THE CONTINENTAL is perfectly symptomatic of all the worst that streaming, as a construct, has to offer. The streaming model enables studios to get away with bloating a fun, compelling two-hour story into what will doubtless end up a five-hour doldrum that induces viewers to spend a majority of the runtime on their phones or otherwise occupying their unstimulated minds. This episode spends more time chasing unnecessary subplots than it does developing Winston, Frankie, Cormac, and Cormac’s assistant (a certain familiar face, so to speak) into gripping characters whose fates become personal to viewers, a weakness that the JOHN WICK movies don’t share. THE CONTINENTAL has all of JOHN WICK’s epic battles and stunning locations, but there’s none of its narrative tightness and stirring character moments (save one moment where Winston and Frankie repair their brotherly relationship while on the run).

To make matters worse, a number of the aforementioned extraneous subplots seem to exist solely to extend the degree of immoral content, including one that primarily revolves around an extramarital affair between two police detectives. This adds to the comes-with-the-territory extreme violence of the action thriller genre and the hefty dose of foul language, as well as moderate sexual content and brief nudity. Despite some positive Christian content, the characters behave with self-centered hedonism, vengefulness and violence, rendering the first episode of THE CONTINENTAL unacceptable.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.