Peacock’s post-apocalyptic, live-action, high-octane, half-hour action-comedy series “Twisted Metal” certainly ain’t no “The Last of Us”, judging by the reviews.
Inspired by the classic PlayStation game series, the story follows a motor-mouthed outsider (Anthony Mackie) who is offered a chance at a better life, but only if he can successfully deliver a mysterious package across a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Cue a road trip with an axe-wielding, trigger-happy car thief (Stephanie Beatriz) and face off against savage marauders driving vehicles of destruction.
The series is based on an original take by “Deadpool” scribes Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick and is being written by Michael Jonathan Smith (“Cobra Kai”).
Reviews have been released for the series which has pulled in a mixed response with a mere 58/100 on Metacritic and only a 71% (/10) on Rotten Tomatoes. Numerous reviews indicate the same complaints – the action and comedy are good and it feels true to the game, but structurally it doesn’t really work.
Here’s a sampling of reactions:
“The show’s plot, especially, is total nonsense, sending Mackie racing across a decent chunk of the country with a ticking clock that never seems to meaningfully tick. There are ideas, images, and jokes worth seeing here, to be sure. But it’s a long trek to get to them.” – William Hughes, The AV Club
“The shift to comedy also mostly works, thanks to a great writing staff… and a team of characters that embrace the weird world they’ve been thrown into. Twisted Metal might be a scrappy little mess at times, but it mostly works when it hits the gas.” – Ross Bonaime, Collider
“There might have even been a better version of this show that wasn’t scared to really center Stu as the lead, a normal guy in a sea of abnormal weirdos. In that version, the writers wouldn’t have been so tied to a protagonist like John who thinks he’s charming but is really just bland. And it could have allowed other supporting players from the series to pop in and out.” – Brian Tallerico, The Playlist
“Twisted Metal is absurd and hilarious in exactly the ways you want a dystopian Cannonball Run to be. Yes, it matches the games’ crude humor but, mostly, it springboards from there and creates its own dark and warped wasteland sensibilities” – Matt Fowler, IGN
“Action is well-choreographed, the kills are gnarly, and watching various cars fly around and flip over in dramatic fashion never stops thrilling. In these moments, the show delivers on the high-octane thrills a name like “Twisted Metal” promises — and the finale offers all the chaotic, explosive violence that feels like a video game come to life. It’s a shame, then, that the show all-too-regularly bogs itself down in overly familiar plotlines, instead of letting the craziness take over.” – Barry Levitt, Slashfilm
“Fans of the games will be thrilled by Sweet Tooth’s scene-stealing brio, if not the structure of the show’s premise; we have another Mortal Kombat (2021) situation on our hands, an adaptation that serves primarily as a set-up for more to come. But if low-budget and low-brow bloodletting is your thing, there are far worse roads to travel.” – Clint Worthington, Consequence
“‘Twisted Metal’ is not flawed because it’s a game adaptation. Its flaws still speak to why ‘The Last of Us’ was an exception to an otherwise ironclad rule, and how copying that show’s playbook is not a surefire formula for success. The story of ‘Twisted Metal’ is thin and packed with tropes.” – Alison Herman, Variety
“Twisted Metal” launches its entire ten-episode first season tomorrow (Thursday, July 27th) on Peacock.