Mr. SchwarzeneggerI think it’s best to address you directly.
You are the “Terminator”. You are “Conan the Barbarian”. You’re a cop stuck in a classroom full of preschoolers, Danny DeVito’s twin and former governor of California (and the latter isn’t even fictional). You are a grown man, 75 years old. You’ve had a long career in Hollywood and politics. People don’t need your last name to know who you are – there’s only one “Arnold”.
Knowing all this, I have to ask: What were you thinking with your gruesome Netflix series? “fubar” (now streaming, ★ of four) is what would happen if we asked artificial intelligence to write one Arnold Schwarzenegger show, but in the worst possible way. The series is utterly cliche, followed by chills of pain and topped off with stunned confusion. People are talking, but I don’t think people wrote the dialogue.
Arnold interview‘Fubar’: Arnold Schwarzenegger, 75, is still in action even if he’s ‘in pain the next day’
No matter how much Netflix paid you for it, it wasn’t worth it.
Created by Nick Santora (“Reacher”), the haunting “Fubar” follows a near-retirement CIA agent, Luke Brunner (Schwarzenegger), who is lured back into service to help a colleague. The catch? That other agent is Luke’s daughter, Emma (Monica Barbaro), and he only finds out when he meets her in the field – while they’re both working undercover.
What is meant to pass as humor happens afterwards when Luke and Emma try to work together, despite Emma’s deep resentment over her father’s childhood absences and Luke’s complete misunderstanding of his daughter. But don’t worry, the CIA has figured out how to solve the problem: Luke and Emma are being forced into joint therapy sessions. With dolls.
A few other characters/walking stereotypes populate the series. There’s a technician (Milan Carter), other agents (Travis Van Winkle and Fortune Feimster), Luke’s ex-wife and Emma’s mother (Fabiana Udenio), and Emma’s nervous and quiet boyfriend (Jay Baruchel, and I’d love to be there too). ask what he’s doing here).
Let’s just say I could jump the intuitive leaps required to believe that the CIA would allow a father and daughter to serve a mission together, let alone force them into therapy sessions. What is even remotely appealing about this story? Is it the jokes they make about Luke pretending to sleep with his own daughter during a mission as a cover story? Is it watching a former screen giant arguing over a broken office chair? Is it because of the “comedy” that Feimster and Van Winkle are trying to create with their slapstick roles? Is it about watching yawn-worthy action sequences that are bad, but not bad enough to be good?
Remove the worst parts of Fubar and you will only find more bad parts. Barbaro, a scene thief in Top Gun: Maverick, is reduced to a whining punchline. Schwarzenegger (or rather his stunt double) hobbles through his heists and fights, delivering line readings that border on self-parody. And each 45 minute episode feels like it will never end.
It didn’t have to be like this. Other icons of 20th-century cinema have spawned great television in recent years, from Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (“Grace and Frankie” on Netflix) to Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren (“1923” on Paramount+). But for every gem, like Steve Martin and Martin Short in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, we also get a dud like Sylvester Stallone’s Paramount+ series Tulsa King. (At least “Tulsa” had some good jokes.)
The title of the series is profane acronym This indicates that something is broken without repair being possible. In this case, that is all too appropriate. “Fubar” seems to have screwed Schwarzenegger beyond recognition.