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‘…the presence of a genuine film star at the centre of this streaming series should attract a crowd, but FUBAR is firmly tv rather than cinema…’

Arnold Schwarzenegger, as you’d expect, takes good care of himself; he’s managed a fairly unique career as a bodybuilder, actor and politician, and managed to dodge the downside that usually comes with all three. Since his tenure as California’s Governator ended, movies haven’t quite known what to do with the big man. Sure, there’s action movie cameos alongside Stallone, several returns to his iconic Terminator franchise, plus lower-wattage projects like Maggie or Aftermath, but none of them really expand the Schwarzenegger ethos; recent footage of him mending a pot hole in his street felt like a return to form. So Netflix swooped in, with a documentary series on the Pumping Iron actor due soon, and FUBAR, a jokey big action confection, debuting now; the takeaway is that the wags at Netflix don’t really know what to do with him either.

FUBAR feels a lot like The Citadel which feels a lot like The Night Agent which felt a lot like True Lies; it’s the usual green-screen international espionage shenanigans with the usual hybrid mix of cars, guns and family values. Luke Brunner (AS) is introduced masterminding a daring heist in Antwep’s diamond district; he’s been playing the game for decades, and wants out; ‘So I guess I’m done, that’s it and that’s all’ Brunner says emphatically. Brunner has his own little team to dad manage including Ruth (Fortune Feimster from The Mindy Project) who helps keep the wisecracking-on-the job quota high with margin note references to Lilo and Stitch or a proposed Wilford Brimley film festival. But Brunner runs into serious trouble when he meets up with a new agent in the field; his own grown-up daughter Emily (Monica Barbaro) who doesn’t appreciate the paternal conflict; the first episode is archly titled ‘Take Your Daughter to Work Day.’

So we’ve been here before with Arnie in the likes of True Lies or Kindergarten Cop; the action is fairly mild, largely reduced to just off-camera splatter, and much of the comedy comes from the contrast with the star’s tough-guy routine and his keen participation in suburban family events like a ‘Sunday Funday cook-off’. ‘Things are going to get real tense, real soon.’ we’re warned, but FUBAR feels a little slow out of the gate, with a familiar dad vibe and a lot of ear-burning dialogue like ‘You can do Euclidean geometry’ or ‘That’s a Congolese warlord’s diamond, I need that in evidence’ to which maverick Luke Brunner replies without shame; ‘I only took one.’

FUBAR isn’t quiet as transgressive as its aggressively acronymed title might suggest, the view of the spy game isn’t particularly flavorsome, and the element of threat isn’t really sharp enough to throw the Brunner family conflicts into any particular relief. And Schwarzenegger is a beloved star rather than a transformational actor; Brunner fits alongside roles like John Matrix, John Kimble, Jericho Kane as being one more run-around for the perennial action hero. The presence of a genuine film star at the centre of this streaming series should attract a crowd, but FUBAR is firmly tv rather than cinema; it’s comfort food, easy to digest as a frozen pizza, but with as much to remember afterwards, despite its memorable, super-sized protagonist. Arnie’s heart is firmly in the right place,and he’s managed to land on the right side of history, but that career-reinventing project he requires still eludes him.


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  1. I’ve been a huge fan of Arnold ever since my parents introduced his movies to me at a young age. I don’t really have the strength to get through most of what he does now, but I have a feeling I’ll have to watch FUBAR at some point. Even though it doesn’t look particularly good to me. I personally wish Stan Lee made the animated superhero series The Governator starring Schwarzenegger. I recommend looking that up.

    • That artwork looks great; I’m sorry this never got made too, would like to have seen Arnie against the GIRLIEMEN!

      Fubar is OK, just a greatest hits of roles that don’t quite chime these days..

  2. These guys are ready to be put out to pasture surely lol…its embarrassing seeing really old guys pretend to be young. Also it indicates a deeper more serious problem with Hollywood it seems close to demise if it needs to resurrect these old fossils in the weak hope of making money…is the Hollywood film industry dying? Ive not seen a decent movie in years

      • Sort of sad in a way but people’s interests seem to have gone elsewhere towards videogames, Youtube and other platforms. I find it hard to digest the amount of cringey remakes and poor quality films designed only for mass market appeal…but to whom? It’s not even clear the film-makers know. I’m not really anybody to judge I’m not a film critic just a film lover, but the epic cringe isn’t even worth sitting through half the time 😅

        • It feels like it’s an AI algorithm that’s putting these things together. Recognisable actor+ familiar story=success in their equation, but it doesn’t turn out like that on screen…

  3. I was ready for Arnie to get off the screen permanently after Dark Fate.
    He might be a nice guy now, but I’m sorry, I am not a fan of 70 year old action stars. Same goes for Stallone and the rest of the stable. Retire them….

    • Compared to Indians Jones at 80, Arnie’s a young man with his best years ahead of him. He just needs a role which looks forwards rather than back to past glories.

      • Well, the less said about Ford the better imo. Of course, I haven’t seen White Fang (or was it call of the wild?) so maybe he’s still got it as a general actor.

        I just can’t see Arnie as anything other than a big rough tough dude killing people. I can’t move beyond that.

        • Call of the Wild, had that on dvd for four years and not opened the box.

          Arnie’s a nice big rough dude who loves family now. Never going back to Terminator edge…

          • I haven’t read the book so haven’t felt very inclined to watch a movie version. Not a big fan of man vs nature stories anyway.

            Too bad. Oh well, not much I can do about it….

                  • Exactly. A man of exacting principles such as myself has to uphold the common good to show the plebes how to behave.

                    But I might watch call of the wild just to see how Ford does in a non-star wars, non-Indie role these days.

                    • Plebes.
                      those rude, uncouth and callow people who don’t like the same stuff as me and thus are obviously inferior.
                      Uh oh, are YOU a plebe?

                    • Well, some people can hide that stuff pretty well.
                      Plebes nowadays are like Communists in the 50’s. They’re everywhere, they’re everyone, they even might be in the mirror!
                      I don’t take chances. I’m currently working on a Plebe Detector to keep the world safe…

                    • They might well be lurking in the mirror, better pinch that guy out fast! Take no chances!

                    • Trust me, I’m keeping a real close eye on him. He’s pretty shifty after all. Always disappearing every time I turn my back. Makes me wonder just what he’s getting up to when I’m not looking at him. Probably watches movies about burning houses down and car babies! Monstrous!

                    • That car baby movie was 18 months ago, can’t believe that’s still looming large for both of you!

                    • You don’t forget something like that very easily. maybe with some serious drugs, therapy and shock paddles, but even time won’t be enough. It’s seared into our synapses.
                      Historians will point to that as a turning point in our history once I do all the great stuff I have planned.

                    • Once I perfect my Plebe Detector, I expect to be on the news every night for years. And on the front page of papers every week.
                      And I’m going to start my own line of hair care products…..

                    • I’ll set an alert so I don’t miss a thing. Exciting times.

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