Gareth Evans exploded into our filmic consciousness with a pair of hard-sliced pieces of badass action: The Raid and The Raid 2. These films crack open the skulls of whoever watches them with bananas fight choreography, impressive inclusion of Indonesian performers and martial arts styles, and a hyperkinetic, grungy approach to shot construction. Then, Evans gave us the underrated Netflix horror film Apostle, slowing things down while still turning up the heat. Now, with the upcoming Sky Atlantic television series Gangs of London, Evans seems to have combined all of these impulses. The newly released trailer promises deep, family-driven conflict alongside absolutely rollicking action.
The patriarch of a crime family, Colm Meaney (Star Trek: TNG), is taken out. And his son Joe Cole (Black Mirror) is eager to pick up the pieces. He travels his way through the darkest, deepest criminal underbellies of London, trying to take control of a now fractured gang landscape, and quell those who would dare nab his family’s now-vulnerable power. The show boasts a deep ensemble cast, featuring folks like Sope Dirisu (Black Mirror), Lucian Msamati (Game of Thrones), Michelle Farley (Game of Thrones), Mark Lewis Jones (Chernobyl), and Valene Kane (The Fall). Evans co-created the series alongside Matt Flannery, the DP on all of Evans’ films. Evans himself will direct five of the ten episodes, with Corin Hardy (The Nun) and Xavier Gens (Frontier(s)) picking up the others.
Much of the trailer finds an appropriately rage-fueled Cole visiting other crime families and grittily threatening things like, “I’m not… interested… in peace.” Which is to say: Awesome! An incisive, aggressive, very English crime drama sounds like a damn fine watch. But when the trailer reveals some of the pitch-perfect action choreography we’re to find in the series: Look out! Like Evans’ previous work, it’s equal parts balletic and brutal, with the performers hitting their marks with a certain amount of furious grace. If you dug Into the Badlands and are looking for a new martial arts TV show to scratch that itch, you’ve found it, my friend.
Check out the trailer for Gangs of London below, the US airing plans of which are currently in talks (though its IMDb Pro page has Cinemax listed as a distributor…).