Gangs of London: Gareth Evans’ Signature Blend of Excitement and Exhaustion

I can still remember going to see The Raid: Redemption like it was yesterday. Spring of 2012 didn’t give genre fans much to talk about outside of The Cabin in the Woods, and moviegoers desperately needed some indie action flick to rave about online. And since Joseph Kahn’s Detention was released on fewer screens than there are seats in the average American movie theater, Welsh director Gareth Evans was able to slide in and gain something of a cult following with his sophomore feature, The Raid.

Having essentially created a sub-genre of Indonesian action and horror films that gained major traction in the US, Evans went bigger and bolder with his follow-up, The Raid: Berendal, which feels like what might happen if you gave John Woo a giant bag of cocaine and 24 hours to rewrite The Godfather. It’s amazing, and you should go watch it if you haven’t because you might not know that you need to see someone do some batting practice with a bunch of nameless henchmen, but you do.

And now that Evans has gotten his obligatory “I’m a real filmmaker” art-house project out of the way, it seems like he’s finally returning to his roots before launching production on The Raid 3. The director’s latest project, a UK-based television show called Gangs of London, follows in the footsteps of other indie auteurs who are realizing that maybe it’s worth taking a crack at this whole TV business. Except this one is going to be less of a brooding prestige drama and more of a, how-many-bones-can-we-break-in-44-minutes drama.

Sope Dirisu (Humans) and Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders) star in Gangs of London.

The synopsis from Wikipedia tells us:

When the head of a criminal organisation (Colm Meaney) is assassinated, the sudden power vacuum his death creates threatens the fragile peace between the intricate web of gangs operating on the streets of London. Now, the grieving, volatile and impulsive Sean Wallace (Joe Cole) tries to restore control and find those responsible for killing his father.

Gangs of London looks like an absolute blast. Evans is dipping into Guy Ritchie territory with this one, and I really couldn’t be happier. Joe Cole has already proven himself to be a more than capable action star with A24’s A Prayer Before Dawn, and the brief glimpses of mayhem we get in this trailer do not disappoint. The show also has a handful of encouraging names behind-the-scenes, including Irish filmmaker Corin Hardy – who wrote and directed the 2015 indie horror flick, The Hallow – on-board to helm four episodes, and Evans’ longtime cinematographer Matt Flannery involved as writer and co-creator.

Evans is one of those action directors who’s more interested in making an experience than a movie. Whether it’s a 30-minute short or a nearly 3-hour crime saga, Evans is in the business of making the most movie possible, and Gangs of London doesn’t look like it’s going to disappoint in that regard. Now if he could just get Iko Uwais back in Jakarta for another Raid movie…

Images: Sky Atlantic, Cinemax

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