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Peacock's Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal

We've seen the latest live-action adaptation of a PlayStation video game series.

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It was easy to fall in love with David Jaffe's ferocious PlayStation original, in which I played the role of a psychotic killer clown in a rusty ice-cream van, travelling around polygon-heavy brown environments and firing missiles willy-nilly. Twisted Metal was, for its time, hilarious. It wasn't until the Twisted Metal: Black reboot for the PlayStation 2 that I managed to develop an addiction, though. That game was, is, and remains phenomenal, and it was here that I switched characters from Sweet Tooth to Shadow, and began investing inordinate amounts of time in my new full-time hobby: wheeled destruction.

Since then, time has flown by. 22 years have passed since the release of Twisted Metal: Black, and despite the occasional attempt to bring the series back from the dead, Twisted Metal, like Sony games such as Syphon Filter, Socom, Jumping Flash and Warhawk, remain lost to time. David Jaffe's old Mad Max-styled car thriller isn't much hotter than leg warmers and thumb rings these days, but even so, Peacock decided to throw money at the psychotic ice cream clown and his cronies, if only to try and ride The Last of Us' wave that HBO Max and Naughty Dog will be surfing for years to come.

Peacock's Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal in series form quickly becomes clear evidence of why it doesn't work to assume that just because a game has been successfully turned into a beloved, acclaimed TV series, all games will make good TV shows. Despite this, it's abundantly clear that Sony just threw money at an ill-conceived production and hastily cobbled together a ridiculously stupid, thin and uninteresting script based on cheesy situational comedy and lots of blood, in order to market it as "yet another TV adaptation of a beloved PlayStation sequel". This isn't a passion project like The Last of Us, this is fast-paced crap. Through and through.

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To my knowledge, the Twisted Metal game series has never contained much of a story. I have never reflected on any plot anyway. Just like in Mortal Kombat, for example, every character had some kind of nonsensical "arc", in Twisted Metal: Black everything had to do with the ultra-villain Calypso's evil tournament "Twisted Metal" but I honestly don't remember any of it and not a single line of dialogue from any of the people involved. It's noticeable here, I can tell you.

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Because even though Deadpool writer Rhett Reese acted as showrunner and wrote the pilot episode, this series is really not about anything at all. We follow John Doe, played by Falcon star Anthony Mackie, who fills his days with courier work between cities in what looks like a home-made version of the world from Max Mad: Road Warrior. The USA is devastated, the cities are surrounded by giant walls and the country is lawless, dirty, dark and drenched in malice. Doe is commissioned by the mayor of New LA to retrieve a box from New Chicago and bring it back to the West Coast, and in return he is promised a beautiful house with a white picket fence, as well as riches, food and a quiet life within the city walls.

Doe, like some of the other characters, is in Twisted Metal: Black, but his appearance and personality have changed completely. The quietly stoic, hard-as-nails gambler has been transformed into a silly chatterbox who doesn't take anything or anyone seriously. His car is neither red with flames nor American-style, anymore. Instead, Mackie drives around in a machine gun-adorned 2001 Subaru WRX STi and every single car chase scene looks like it was shot at about 13 km/h.

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Along the way, Doe encounters the main female character, Quiet, whose brother is brutally murdered, which of course he intends to rectify through bloody, torturous revenge. They end up in the hands of corrupt cops, Sweet Tooth and rival gangs of filthy road pirates and in between there are car chases with lots of shooting. Rockets, missiles, machine gun fire and everything in between are offered to make the series look as much like the game as possible, but nothing works. Nothing. The script is consistently miserable. Miserable beyond redemption. The characters are flimsy, boring, their motives ridiculously thin and there is a tiresome pointlessness to every minute of this ten-episode TV series.

Peacock's Twisted Metal

There are scenes here where Sweet Tooth performs a one-man musical inside a demolished casino that is one of the most disappointing things I've seen in years, as well as strangely inserted CGI moments that look like they were modelled and rendered in Excel, which together with ugly photography, terrible costume work, poor production design (it's noticeable that everything is done within the same three studio locations only that they moved and replaced some furniture) and disastrous dialogue make this the worst TV series of the year so far. Nor does it help that the acting is consistently awful. Mackie adds some micrograms of charm in a few places, but other than that, I advise you to put as much distance between Twisted Metal as you can.

02 Gamereactor UK
2 / 10
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Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal

SERIES. Written by Petter Hegevall

We've seen the latest live-action adaptation of a PlayStation video game series.



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