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To say Gangs Of London knows how to put on a cracking fight scene is like saying Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng aren’t exactly best mates right now.
It’s self-evident: bruising, inventive, stomach-churning dances to the death are Gangs Of London’s bread and butchery.
In the first series it worked because there was a rock solid storyline to cling to.
It was a tale of revenge as clan leader Sean Wallace (played by Joe Cole and so not to be confused with The Chaser who spells it Shaun, gets me every time) swore revenge on the killers of his beloved, if slightly crackers, papa.
But – and don’t read on if you’re planning to reel right back to the beginning – Sean is no more, bumped off in the series one finale shocker, shot in the head by his mate/right hand man Elliot (Sope Dirisu), his hand forced by fiendish plotting and the fact Sean’s story had nowhere to go but down.
This caused a bit of a problem. Gangs Of London was a monster hit for Sky and so needed to carry on, but without its notional emotional centre, how could it?
The solution is to speed us two years on, crank up the violence – yes, really – and hope we get invested in a plot that repeats the words ‘Guns, Business and Investors’ in the hope that something sticks.
I couldn’t give two hoots which clan is shooting/throttling/drowning who. Which is not to say that Gangs Of London is not without bloody appeal, after all, the sight of a man having his head minced by a tumble drier in an Istanbul launderette is the closest I’ll ever get to experiencing Midsomer Murders on acid.
There is hope, too, in Dirisu’s mesmerising portrayal of human punch bag Elliot, a man so used to death his eyes are only just alive but whose battery flickers back to life as he plots to bring the big bad guys down.
Which, in the real world, would never happen.
But Gangs Of London is not much about the real world.
For all its slick action choreography and spectacular arrays of blood spatter, without a heart to match its muscle and anyone much to root for, it ends up looking like a high-end slasher movie.
Watch Gangs Of London season 2 on Sky Atlantic and NOW from Thursday October 20.
MORE : Gangs of London star Lucian Msamati defends action thriller’s graphic ultra-violence: ‘None of it is gratuitous’
MORE : Gangs of London director promises higher body count in season 2 as he aims for ‘most dangerous show on TV’
Gangs Of London 2 review: The closet you'll get to Midsomer Murders on acid
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