We saw for you… Gangs of London, ultra violent fight between gangs
Often compared to Peaky Blinders, Gangs of London impresses with its action and carnage scenes in the midst of gang warfare in London. The series will be available on Canal+ from May 29th.
What is Gangs of London? Irishman Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney), leader of a criminal gang operating in London, is shot dead in murky circumstances. His son Sean (Joe Cole) succeeds him at the head of the family and demands revenge, urged by his mother (Michelle Fairley). This death upset the balance between all the clans of different origins and nationalities in the city, all of whom likely ordered the murder; moreover, the rivals of the Wallaces want to take advantage of the situation and the chaos caused by the outbreak of violence.
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Available on Starzplay on November 15th Gangs of London is the first series from Gareth Evans, a director who wowed action film fans with his film The attack. Through the presence of Joe Cole, the dark atmosphere of the series, the spectacular scenes or just the theme, Gangs of London was compared Peaky Blinders ; we will add a little banshee from John Wick even from godfather for good measure. Although, at the end of nine episodes to qualify Gangs of London again something is a bit simple; Maybe it’s best to just say that this is Gareth Evans’ first series, period.
The series was originally commissioned by Pulse Films, a small company that asked Evans to adapt the 2006 video game of the same name for the big screen. Like the PSP game, the series chronicles a war between ethnic gangs for control of crime in the United States London nowadays. This conflict between Nigerians, Pakistanis, Welsh, Kurds and Albanians erupted after the assassination of the man at the head of the Irish clan who had dominated all traffic for twenty years. Settling scores, Shakespeare’s revenge, financial shenanigans, political stakes and personal rivalries: it is a bitter struggle and unprecedented violence that will erupt between all forces present.
Since nature abhors a vacuum, the death of Finn Wallace sets off a series of chain reactions. His son Sean (Joe Cole, the John Shelby of Peaky Blinders) takes revenge in the grip of a murderous rage fueled by his mother (Michelle Fairley), unaware of who is responsible. Aided by his bodyguard Elliot Finch (Sope Dirisu is undoubtedly the show’s revelation), he encounters the reluctance of his partners of African descent, Ed Damani (Lucian Msamati) and his son Alex (Paapa Essiedu). In charge of the financial and legal affairs of the criminal conglomerate, they fear an outbreak of violence that could damage their business. Especially since all the clans and criminal organizations in London want to take advantage of the chaos to increase their influence.
The range of opposing forces is wide: the Albanian mafia led by Luan Dushaj (Orli Shuka), the Pakistani clan of Asif Afridi (Asif Raza Mir) who are pushing his son Nasir to run for mayor of London, Kurdish activists who the PKK fund drug trafficking, Nigerians and Welsh Gypsies. Meanwhile, the police are completely overwhelmed by the events…
Strange, Gangs of London is somehow divided into two distinct parts. First, the contextualization, escalation, and triggering of the lethal gear in the first four episodes, in which Evans is fully involved. Then the development of the various intrigues until the outcome of the last four, the implementation of which was almost entirely entrusted to the French Xavier Gens. From there, the initial rhythm, brutal and breathless, slows down a bit (despite some incredible scenes).
As a turning point, the fifth episode feels like a completely insane bracket, almost independent of the rest of the plot and without any of the main characters. There Evans is completely unleashed with grueling because extremely violent scenes. The kind of sequences that border on the over the top, even hard to take at times, but so paralyze you in front of the screen you forget to breathe; a debauchery of explosions, gunfire, hallucinating armed attacks. And just when you think the episode has reached its pinnacle, the series pushes the boundaries even further, going from the spectacular to the completely insane.
This episode, which has caused a lot of conversation on social media, is undoubtedly the highlight of the show. So the slowing down and slight weakening of the action scenes can be described as disappointing. Action scenes are still there and impressive, but they are more spatial and the violence is less visceral and more insidious.
In hindsight, it’s a clever maneuver to push the story forward through quieter plots and more complex dialogue, rather than relying solely on the spectacular. Rather Machiavellian and political, Gangs of London then leaves more room for the clans’ plans to seize power, forge new alliances and betray their former partners. So that we can easily forgive some more classic setups and twists, and most importantly, one final fake scene as an excuse to leave the door open for a sequel (a season 2 has just been officially ordered,)
If you like intimate and subtle series, if you’re the type to look away from violent scenes, don’t watch Gangs of London. From the opening credits: This story of a gang war is full of breathtaking action sequences, wild and unbridled brutality. This undoubtedly gives it a special touch. Sensitive souls abstain; for others, Gangs of London is a safe bet. A little new blood (and a whole lot of blood, period) in a classic but well-written gang tale.
Gangs of London (Sky Atlantic / Cinemax)
9 episodes (1X70′ and 8X55′)
In France from May 29th on Canal+ and available on myCANAL