War looms among the ‘Gangs of London’ in AMC+ action series

'Gangs of London' - Someone will pay for assassination in AMC+ drama

Sope Dirisu (left) and Joe Cole star in “Gangs of London,” which begins streaming Thursday on AMC+.

Crime boss Finn Wallace is dead and no business can be conducted until his killer is found.

In the 10-episode drama series “Gangs of London,” which begins streaming Thursday, Oct. 1, on the new subscription service AMC+, the assassination of Wallace (Colm Meaney, “Hell on Wheels”) sets off a power struggle among the international gangs that control the city and creates a power vacuum that impulsive son Sean (Joe Cole, “Peaky Blinders”) and Dumani family head Ed Dumani (Lucian Msamati, “His Dark Materials”) step into.

While family and friends mourn Finn’s passing, the gangs chiefs push to get back to business as usual. But Sean says no, aggravating an already dangerous situation. Luckily, he has an ally in Elliot Finch (Sope Dirisu, “Humans”), a loser with a mysterious interest in the Wallace family. As fate draws him into London’s largest criminal enterprise, it becomes apparent there are higher powers at play.

The series was created by Gareth Evans and Matt Flannery, collaborators on the 2011 actioner “The Raid: Redemption” starring martial artist Iko Uwais. Many of the fight scenes here are reminiscent of that earlier film and featured Dirisu, who turned out to be a pleasant surprise as an action star.

Sope Dirisu stars in “Gangs of London,” which begins streaming Thursday on AMC+.

“When we were designing the action for this,” Evans says, “we had no clue what we were going to get in terms of Sope’s abilities, as the guy who ends up in a lot of the main fight sequences throughout the show. … And there were moments definitely during the shoot where what we were getting in the camera was so good that I stopped treating Sope as an actor, in a way, and I kept treating him as a fighter.

“And so then, all of a sudden, when you call cut on an action sequence and then jump into drama, and then suddenly, he’s delivering in spades on that, that was sort of the reminder of, oh OK, this isn’t Iko. This isn’t the fighter guy and I’m getting everything here.”

As for Dirisu, he’s played boxers before on stage but had never done any martial arts, so the monthlong training before filming began turned out to be welcome and enjoyable.

“I remember the fight test we had as part of the audition process for the role of Elliot,” the British actor says. “… And they just put me through my paces, to see if I’d be able to keep up with the choreography and make sure I was doing it safely. And I had so much fun in that test, and I think that fun spilled over into creating it. It was a real challenge for me to pick up some of these martial art skills, but also in creating the character of Elliot.”

“And hopefully, as you see the series, it all works,” he adds.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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