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The Twisted Metal Series Crashes And Burns At Ignition
The Twisted Metal games never really had much of a narrative or story, but the question remains; what made the Twisted Metal games Twisted Metal? Is it the vehicular combat?
If that’s the case, Peacock’s Twisted Metal series is Twisted Metal only by name beyond some easter eggs and the names of characters from the games being used.
The premise of the Twisted Metal series is simple: Anthony Mackie’s John Doe (yes, that’s the name of the protagonist, how creative) is a ‘milkman’, also known as the deliverymen of the series’ post-apocalyptic world. The whole first season is essentially him going cross-country for a job to send a package. In his journey, he encounters other characters such as Samoa Joe’s Sweet Tooth (voiced by Will Arnett), Stephanie Beatriz’s Quiet and Thomas Haden Church’s antagonist character, Agent Stone.
The problem with the Twisted Metal series is that the characters seem to be having fun, but it doesn’t always translate into the series. The overall tone of the series is campy and over-the-top and it doesn’t take itself seriously most of the time. Sometimes the sheer mayhem and bloody violence (which doesn’t really happen too often) can be fun, but the series is too messy and uneven throughout its ten episodes. I appreciated that each episode only lasted 30 minutes long because they would have been unbearable otherwise. This whole season would have been much improved if there had been fewer episodes with more focus. Most episodes feature random stuff that doesn’t make for compelling content or investment.
It’s unfortunate because the first episode of Twisted Metal showcased a lot of potential for a madcap series that could have been a lot of fun. However, as I binged it all in one night, I couldn’t wait for it all to be over because it’s all just a whole lot of nothing.
If you were interested in watching Twisted Metal for Sweet Tooth or actual vehicular combat, I’m sorry to disappoint you because there’s not enough Sweet Tooth in the series (most of the focus is on John Doe and Quiet). As for vehicular combat, there’s too little of it. If someone were to put all the vehicular combat scenes from the entire season into one video, I’d be surprised if it’s longer than 10 minutes (the whole season is around five hours long).
On the bright side, there are occasional scenes in Twisted Metal that are hilarious. It’s in these sparse moments that I felt the Zombieland-like tone bubbling on the surface. Some of the best scenes involve gory violence, with decapitations and lots of blood (these usually involve Sweet Tooth). But again, the point is that there’s nowhere near enough of the good stuff to make Twisted Metal worth binging the whole season for.
In addition, gamers might also chuckle at some of the easter eggs. These included a physical copy of the original Twisted Metal flinging onto John Doe’s front windshield and John Doe inputting the Konami code to activate his car’s speed boost. Other references include a brief (but meaningless) cameos of characters from the games. That said, all of this isn’t nearly enough to make the series more watchable.
It’s no surprise that Sony or PlayStation didn’t really bother to promote or spend much resources in marketing Twisted Metal. In a better world, a good adaptation of Twisted Metal would have been a more Mad Max-like feature film with the budget to actually pull off the frantic vehicular combat from the games. It’s sad to see Stephanie Beatriz giving an excellent performance in a series that doesn’t deserve it.
Despite everything I’ve written above, perhaps the biggest sin that Twisted Metal makes is the exact same one committed by 2021’s Mortal Kombat movie. They’re both essentially prequels to the “real thing”. Just like 2021’s Mortal Kombat ended by teasing the actual tournament in a sequel, Twisted Metal does the same thing. The ending of Twisted Metal Season teases viewers that it will finally be giving us a more games-accurate and faithful adaptation of Twisted Metal, an actual demolition derby, in a potential second season that may never happen. It’s despicable, really.
If you have a PlayStation Plus subscription, you’re better off downloading the Twisted Metal games and playing those instead. At least you won’t waste your time and money (if you subscribed to Peacock for Twisted Metal).
The first season of Twisted Metal is now streaming on the Peacock streaming service.
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