Netflix continues its path of releasing productions for all kinds of audiences, staying at the top of the streaming chain despite recent restrictions that may have caused the loss of millions of users along the way. Now, they have brought back a big star to re-engage a portion of their audience: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The action hero, known for his role in Terminator, has made a big comeback with a series that blends action and comedy to make the most of the bodybuilder’s charisma. The series has just been released, and a significant portion of the critics have already had access to it, earning a 49 on Metacritic, which puts it on the verge of passing. But is this series worth it, or should we let it pass like in the case of Citadel?
Another great action comedy in the style of Dangerous Lies
“Wherever I go, people ask me when I’m going to do another great action comedy like Dangerous Lies. Well, here it is.” That’s how Schwarzenegger justified the creation of this series during the promotion of FUBAR. The show aims to maintain the tone of that mentioned movie: a hefty dose of action balanced with subtle comedy to delight the audience.
The series also draws inspiration from films like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and in fact, it bears a resemblance to the tone achieved by Apple TV+’s Ghosted, the recent film starring Ana de Armas and Chris Evans. However, its synopsis takes us into a story that delves into a much more intense relationship than a romantic one: the bond between a father and a daughter.
In FUBAR, a father (Schwarzenegger) and a daughter (Monica Barbaro) have been working as CIA agents for years, but in secret. Each of them has kept their involvement with the CIA hidden from the other, resulting in their entire relationship being built on a massive lie. However, upon discovering each other’s CIA involvement, the pair is forced to work together as partners and, within the context of explosive action and espionage, they learn who they truly are.
The synopsis takes us into a blend of endearment and confusion that works well in the early episodes. FUBAR undoubtedly has an explosive start that makes it clear Schwarzenegger is still in top form. However, as the plot progresses and the father-daughter relationship, which is quickly resolved, takes a backseat, the series deflates like a balloon.
Nick Santora, the showrunner of the series and creator of Prison Break, builds a very interesting world in which the two protagonists blend perfectly, reminiscent of the relationship between Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us. However, everything is resolved quickly and without delving too deep into the characters, always prioritizing action and the plot itself.
This results in the series, despite having eight episodes, failing to fully convince. Soon, it loses all interest in its narrative. It stops focusing on the characters to go further, and loses that usual feeling of series with well-developed characters that keeps you glued to the screen no matter what.
FUBAR, like Ghosted recently, is a case of “close, but no cigar.” It’s a series that knows how to play its cards right but spends them all too quickly, allowing a plot that never becomes interesting enough to overshadow it. However, the connection between the two protagonists is evident, and it’s a bit of a pity that it wasn’t explored further in that regard.
Perhaps, with a better-resolved plot and in a film format—where it’s clear that Schwarzenegger shines brighter—FUBAR would have been a new hit for Netflix. But beyond the involvement of the Terminator actor, it doesn’t seem like it will be among the most-watched or popular on the platform by any means. It is, in essence, another disposable audiovisual product from Netflix; one that entertains you for a while but never fully realizes its potential.
Some of the links added in the article are part of affiliate campaigns and may represent benefits for Softonic.