We said a week ago that, if there were objections to anyone, before and after the premiere of The Continental, the prequel miniseries to the successful “John Wick” film saga, it was Mel Gibson. The 67-year-old American actor was chosen to represent Cormac O’Connor, the manager of the aforementioned hotel in New York in the dark seventies.
The criticism of Gibson did not have much to do with his artistic past, because that is where he retains his real ‘praise’. In fact, it is pointed out that in recent times he has been on a downward trend, taking unremarkable roles that not only do not require him, but are also sometimes the fundamental reason why the film (or series) involved fails at the box office.
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Despite this, in the first episode of “El Continental. From the world of John Wick,” Gibson’s performance as Cormac delivered. Although little demanded by a script that prioritized the presentation of the (many) characters behind this prequel, the manager of the emblematic lodging business was certainly convincing. He had to wait, then, for the next chapter.
Last Friday the second episode of The Continental was released. We are already clear that we are facing the story of how Winston (several decades ago) took over Cormac’s position. For this purpose, those in charge of casting chose to place Colin Woodell playing the aspiring manager. In turn, the scriptwriters decided to surround him with a, let’s say, bloody drama: his brother Frankie/Ben Robson (with whom they are united by a history of rejection of Cormac) has just assaulted the character played by Gibson and, therefore, his head. It began to have a price.
Although Cormac managed to take down Frankie, he did not get his way. The press for printing coins whose use is exclusive to El Continental has been changed at the last minute. In that sense, the manager is in serious trouble. Here appears the character of the Adjudicator (Katie McGrath), who quickly approaches the New York hotel to remind the manager that she has a period of three days to recover the precious object otherwise something very bad can happen to it.
Along these lines, The Continental develops two parallel paths. In the first, Cormac is urgent to find the object that was stolen from him days ago. While, in the second, it is Winston who seeks revenge for the death of his brother. Both paths, notoriously, have Frankie at the center of it all.
Cormac talking to the Adjudicators.
But before talking specifically about Mel Gibson and his work as Cormac, it is impossible to ignore the series of micro stories that The Continental throws out as the minutes progress. The first could well be the one starring detective KD (Mishel Prada) and her lover, superior Mayhew (Jeremy Bobb). Once outside a room, she is going faster than him. Here it is time to highlight the role of KD, a kind of righteous (and lonely) spirit that advances in a city without authority. His great objective is to know the true story behind Frankie. And she does not seem willing to give up on this purpose even if her boss Mayhew tries to prevent it.
A second scenario could be that of Miles and Lou, two traffickers from seventies New York who, overnight, receive the proposal to head a ‘commando’ to take over The Continental. Although they are aware that the mission is suicidal, something deep within them motivates them to accept the proposal of Winston, an adult who does not know how to hit a fist, but who knows exactly how to persuade the most complete stranger in front of him. He happens when he, for example, tries to convince Mazie (a sort of Pre-Bowery King) to help her go against Cormac.
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If we add Miles (Hubert Point-Du Jour) and Lou (Jessica Allain) to Winston, why not add Yen (Nhung Kate)? Frankie’s widow, in reality, faces her own grief, which motivates her to follow two goals. The first is to go in search of something allegedly linked to her ex-partner. This is where perhaps the most unsustainable moment of episode two will occur. While she is sifting through dusty drawers, the music opts for an endless version of “Without You” by Harry Nilson. Once this corny display is over, the Asian woman discovers that she is being followed.
His second objective is, of course, to put pressure on Winston himself, indirectly ‘guilty’ of Frankie’s death. The character played by Nhung Kate confirms that so far in the series there is no possibility of objections regarding the choreography used in the fights. She subjugates not only the members of the commando led by Winston, but himself. Although the latter – as Colin Woodell himself said – should stand out for his ideas and not for his fighting techniques.
The cello made the mistake of opening Charon’s head and paid dearly for it.
The soundtrack chosen for The Continental is risky, it often distances itself from the atmosphere that the John Wick saga left us. Although there are errors like the one mentioned when Yen searches for something incessantly, there are also notable successes, such as when Lou faces several enemies and, suddenly, a melody plays that transports us to the old stories of detective John Shaft (“Get Up Offa That Thing” by James Brown).
Not even completely subdued, Winston loses perspective: he needs Yen on his team to ‘take’ the Continental. They are brothers-in-law, but fundamentally, they both share the same intention of teaching Cormac a real lesson. And before returning to this character, he has to talk about the secondary characters. Joining Winston’s ‘command’ is Jenkins (Ray McKinon), a kind of more mercenary vigilante sniper who, captivated by Miles’ proposal, and interested in exacting his own revenge with the hotel manager in question, says yes. .
The ‘command’ gets to work. The objective is to get the Continental.
Before closing the comment focusing on Winston and Cormac, it is time to say that we are facing a mini series that seeks its own path beyond the “John Wick” saga and the legacy of its protagonist Keanu Reeves. There is a perceived concern to exploit the dramas much more, to provide the story with characters with a double dimension. In “The Continental” everyone seems to have a past that haunts them. Maybe your items are too messy. The musicalization at times stumbles in its attempt to tell us something more. The opposite happens with the scenery, and it is presented to us without imperfections.
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In the final section of this note, the commentary will focus on Winston and Cormac. The mini series has opted for the former’s attempt to take the Continental (“I need all the weapons possible”) and the latter’s attempt to find the coin press. Although the first seems to be more important, the truth is that the second ends up gaining more weight. Mel Gibson plays an almost deranged manager who, upon learning that the Continental’s cello player has tried to convince Charon (Ayomide Adegun) to leave and “broaden his horizons,” loses his mind and slaughters him using only a cane. All inside his main office (also breaking the hotel rules). The scene is so violent that it shocks from beginning to end. We all know when we see the musician that his destiny is death, but no one expects each of the movements that Cormac will execute next.
At this point, the two minutes that the massacre scene has taken are vastly longer than the calculations and mental rehearsals that Winston has done since his brother was killed. “The Continental” is the story of how the latter takes over the power of the hotel, but to get there things will not be easy at all. And we only have to wait for the third and final episode to see it.
THE CONTINENTAL/ PRIME VIDEO
Synopsis: “The Continental” is a series of events that reveals the violent origins of the iconic assassin hotel in the John Wick universe. Set in New York in the 1970s, Winston Scott recruits a team to confront a large conspiracy sparked by his brother’s attack on The Continental. The bloody action drama explores the collision of familial love, destiny and revenge.
Director: Charlotte Brandstrom , Albert Hughes
List: Colin Woodell, Ayomide Adegun, Mel Gibson
Qualification: 4 stars out of 5
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