TV review: 'Twisted Metal' has fits and starts of fun

Stephanie Beatriz and Anthony Mackie star in "Twisted Metal." Photo courtesy of Peacock
1 of 5 | Stephanie Beatriz and Anthony Mackie star in "Twisted Metal." Photo courtesy of Peacock

LOS ANGELES, July 26 (UPI) -- Twisted Metal, premiering Thursday on Peacock, fulfills the promise of ultra-violent comic mayhem. It won't win any new fans, but should satisfy those who love the Playstation game.

The story takes place In 2002. A bug killed all electronics and the Internet, and cities walled themselves in for safety, banishing all criminals to the wasteland between metropolitan hubs.


John Doe (Anthony Mackie) is a milkman, a courier between walled cities. The chief operating officer of New San Francisco (Neve Campbell) offers John citizenship if he can pick up a mysterious package from Chicago and deliver it.

It takes many episodes before John comes close to Chicago. He visits many other cities and sees how different societies are coping with the apocalypse.

Each episode ends in a new cliffhanger, so the following episode deals with how John gets out of the problem. He ends up with another one within the next 30 minutes of screen time.

The vehicular action looks like real cars doing some real stunts on closed courses. It's not quite as elaborate as a movie, but far more impressive than action shows like FUBAR.


John meets up with Quiet (Stephanie Beatriz), a driver who's silent unless she's insulting John. They form a typical reluctant hero partnership, but one-up each other throughout the episodes as they remain at odds.

The series premiere is a bit too aggressive, with John making far too many irreverent remarks. His jokes are hit and miss, so the presumption that viewers are supposed to find everything he says hilarious is off-putting.

Twisted Metal hadn't even settled into the post-apocalyptic world yet at that point. If the creators want the tone to be that irreverent, they'd better have better material with which to open.

However, the tone evens out after the introductory action scene. John starts to explore his surroundings and delivers more successful jokes about parallel parking in such a high-octane world.

The over-the-top blood splatters still get old, as does the use of songs like "Thong Song" and "Barbie Girl" to score ultra-violent sequences.

That is presumably the tone of the ultra-violent game, though, so obviously players did not tire of it after playing eight games. The 10-episode series encompasses considerably less time than playing just one game, so it can be amusing in doses.


Fred Topel, who attended film school at Ithaca College, is a UPI entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001, and a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012 and the Critics Choice Association since 2023. Read more of his work in Entertainment.

Latest Headlines