After Irish mob boss Finn Wallace (Colm Meaney) is murdered, the London criminal demimonde is thrown into chaos. While Finn’s brash son Sean (Joe Cole) tries to take over the reins of his father’s operation, the hunt is on to find out who ordered the hit on Wallace patriarch, which strikes lowly criminal foot soldier Elliot Finch (Sope Dirisu) as a hell of an opportunity for advancement. However, the other criminal elements of London will only put up with this disruption to business as usual for so long before they seek to put things back on an even keel, even if that means going to war.

As I’ve written before, we are living in a golden age of martial arts television, and Gangs of London is further proof. At first taste it feels like another post-Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels British crime caper (and let’s face it, most of those have been dreadful) but it quickly—very quickly—reveals itself to have more visceral, not to mention bone-crunching, concerns. It kicks off with a truly horrifying scene of interrogation and execution atop a London skyscraper, then goes about the business of offering up at least one stunningly choreographed beat-down per episode, the kind of martial arts mayhem normally reserved for feature films shot in countries with more laissez-faire approaches to OH&S.


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