Gangs of London (2020), 4****
Dir Gareth Evans, Corin Hardy, Xavier Gems
A Sky Original, Now TV
Running Time: 53-93 minutes per episode
Review: Matthew Alicoon, Friday 12th June 2020
Gangs of London (9 episodes) tells the story of London being torn apart due to the power struggles of its international gangs. A power vacuum is then created due to the death of Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney) who is the most powerful criminal in London. The show is mainly about finding out who orchestrated the death of Finn Wallace and how his son Sean Wallace (Joe Cole) takes his place.
From a writing perspective it is incredibly well-written, as due to having episodes with a long running time it allows for the narrative to develop strongly and have fleshed out characters. As for who organised Finn Wallace’s death it was a very surprising plot twist. The episodes normally build up to an action set piece at the end of every episode and the pay-off is spectacular, you get a visual feast for the eyes in terms of the action on this show. At times the action is quite jaw-dropping to watch.
The standout episode in the show is episode 5 which contains around a 30 minute shootout sequence which was stunning to witness and one of the most compelling pieces of TV ever. It was a showstopper. It was directed by Gareth Evans whose experience from The Raid films definitely came into play here.
Joe Cole and Sope Dirisu were two great leads who both gave superb performances throughout the show. Also, it was great to see upcoming talent in the industry from performers such as Paapa Essiedu and Michelle Fairley. However, Sope Dirisu’s character Elliot deserved more of a backstory as throughout the show we saw Sean Wallace’s backstory explored really well but there were questions left on Elliot’s backstory that should have been given clarity.
However, one of the main issues with the show was the fact that there were a few characters that deserved more screen time, as there purpose wasn’t really explained. Particularly, Victoria Chung (Jing Lusi) who didn’t have enough screen time to allow investment in her character. Also, the finale was too much of an abrupt ending, it felt more of a penultimate episode, the show would have benefited from an additional episode to tie things up nicely but the story is certainly left open for series 2.
Gangs of London certainly is one of the finest action dramas ever that really showcases top-notch action choreography.
Joe Cole as Sean Wallace
Sope Dirisu as Elliot Finch
Michelle Fairley as Marian Wallace
Brian Vernel as Billy Wallace
Lucian Msamati as Ed Dumani
Paapa Essiedu as Alexander Dumani
Colm Meaney as Finn Wallace