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Review of Twisted Metal - like a TV version of a prank cushion.
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Review of Twisted Metal – like a TV version of a prank cushion.

If you are only able to watch one TV show set in a post-apocalyptic world based on a violent game from Sony PlayStation, it should definitely be The Last of Us. This thought-provoking HBO series, which premiered last year, deepened the emotional impact of the already captivating video game that explores themes of hope and humanity in a devastated world. The overwhelmingly positive reviews and numerous award nominations demonstrated that it is possible to create exceptional entertainment from video game source material.

If The Last of Us was a grand, emotionally enriching experience, the game adaptation Twisted Metal is more like a comedic trick: rowdy and annoying, but also frequently funny. It finally arrives in the UK this week, following its debut in the US last summer (where it was successful enough to secure a second season).

Using an over-the-top video game series that has been inactive for over ten years as its inspiration, Twisted Metal transforms the main idea of the games – a high-energy car battle with weapons and missiles – into a wild journey through a chaotic United States.

The output is a highly energetic parody that covers a wide range, much like the impact of a shortened shotgun blast. It is divided into 10 sections of 30 minutes each. This results in a rapid development of the fictional world, taking inspiration from various sources such as Mad Max, The Walking Dead, and Snowpiercer, among many other post-apocalyptic tales.

In the dystopian world of Twisted Metal, there are no zombies to combat. However, after two decades without internet connection, society has regressed into ruthless groups of cannibals, fanatics, militant groups, and other disturbing individuals. Leading us through this grim post-apocalyptic landscape is John Doe, also known as the “milkman,” who navigates dangerous high-speed deliveries in his stylish red Subaru between fortified settlements.

As a child who was raised in isolation and danger, the arrogant and clever milkman has surprisingly maintained a positive outlook on life. Mackie’s portrayal is so charming that when John deliberately hits a seal pup in the first episode – only to have the scene cut to a steak being cooked in a frying pan – it elicits laughter instead of shock.

When the leader of New San Francisco, played by Neve Campbell, offers John a job to drive across the country and return a mysterious item within 10 days, everything speeds up dramatically. During this journey, he crosses paths with a fugitive known as Quiet (portrayed by Stephanie Beatriz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine), who is determined to seek revenge.

“The two dynamic main characters engage in arguing, forming relationships, and constantly switching sides as they journey through different hostile groups on their long road trip. The continuous appearance of unsettling enemies hindering their journey includes a strict chief of a violent police force portrayed by the stern Thomas Haden Church, and a towering strongman wearing a disturbing clown mask, who drives around in an armored ice cream truck, jingle and all.”

Joe Seanoa as Sweet Tooth in Twisted Metal.

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Sweet Tooth, the iconic figure of the game series, is portrayed by two actors due to his bold and exaggerated demeanor. Professional wrestler Joe Seanoa brings the physical strength, while Will Arnett lends his voice in a deep, gravelly tone reminiscent of his performance as Lego Batman. This dramatic and seamless collaboration only adds to the exaggerated and surreal atmosphere of the show.

“Inspired by a vehicular combat game, the series incorporates fewer car chases and collisions reminiscent of Fury Road than one might anticipate. Instead, there is equal attention given to the brief pauses taken by John and Quiet on their journey, whether it’s seeking refuge in an abandoned multiplex that pays homage to early 2000s cinema or aiding two estranged lesbians in reuniting in the harsh desert landscape.”

The creators of Twisted Metal are no strangers to outlandish and humorous post-apocalyptic worlds, having previously worked on films such as Zombieland and Deadpool. The show, developed by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Michael Jonathan Smith, who also worked on the adult-oriented Cobra Kai, maintains a similar level of irreverence and sentimentality. While not every joke lands perfectly, the show keeps the intensity high with constant visual gags, kitschy 90s music, and over-the-top physical comedy.

This behavior seems bold and focused on getting noticed, similar to a bright green car doing reckless maneuvers in a store’s parking lot at night. However, if you can get on the same energetic level as Twisted Metal’s chatter, it can be an enjoyable experience.

Source: theguardian.com