Fubar Review — Schwarzenegger Saves the World (Again)

Fubar Review — Schwarzenegger Saves the World (Again)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a new action vehicle and a new catchphrase to boot. “That’s it, and that’s all,” he says repeatedly, sounding perhaps less like an unquestionable authority than a serving pig. Its frequent recurrence in the Netflix series Fubar can also be read as a form of acknowledgment of the show’s limited scope. This is a fun, fundamentally nonsensical “save-the-world” fight with close shaves, nonsensical plots and breezy comic relief. But that’s it, and that’s all.

The eight-part show marks the first foray into TV work for the 75-year-old Schwarzenegger (the second, an autobiographical Netflix docu-series, follows next month, and the network just named him its “chief action officer”). If big names are often guilty of checking out on big paycheck projects, the veteran star here seems genuinely excited to bring his oversized muscles to the world’s small screens. He plays Luke Brunner, a retired CIA agent (obviously) who has been given one last job – to prevent a nuclear power plant from falling into the wrong hands.

To make matters even more delicate, his innocent, dear daughter Emma (Monica Barbaro) happens to be an undercover agent assigned to the same mission. Given—or despite—their respective positions as top espionage assets, neither suspected the other was a spy. Although both feel betrayed, there really can be no better time or way for a father and daughter to resolve their issues and build trust than, say, while aboard an unstoppable train or during a honey trap operation.

As the title suggests, things tend not to go according to plan and there are a few near misses and cliff-hangers in the opening episodes (which could have been half the length). In less adrenalized moments, the series plays out like a cross between a traditional family comedy – with Luke determined to win back his ex, as well as Emma’s love – and a workplace sitcom featuring laughable side characters. The jokes may not hit as often as the gun-wielding Luke, but there’s a persistent, knowing levity that helps Fubar a more appealing proposition than Amazon’s recent globe-hopping but leaden spy show, Citadel.


On Netflix from 25 May

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