“Fubar” significantly messes up Arnold Schwarzenegger’s TV series premiere.

Arnold Schwarzenegger makes the logical transition from movie star to California governor to Netflix series with “Fubar,” which is essentially a father-daughter remake of his 1994 James Cameron film “True Lies.” It’s a thin notion stretched across eight parts (and potentially more), and with respect to its military abbreviation, it seems messed up in mainly recognized ways. This marks the star’s series debut.

Similar to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” the father and daughter in this situation were both hiding hidden lives before being compelled to work together by the CIA. Schwarzenegger’s Luke Brunner is actually about to retire when he learns that his daughter Emma (“Top Gun: Maverick’s” Monica Barbaro) was recruited years earlier, forcing him to postpone his plans to pursue a quieter life and win back his ex and her mother (Fabiana Udenio) after years of lying took a toll on their relationship.

While dating the geeky and illiterate Carter (Jay Baruchel), who seems to ground her, Emma is somewhat uncomfortably walking a mile in her father’s shoes in that regard. However, there is still the little issue of all those terrible dudes she encounters with in her covert day job.

The series makes use of Schwarzenegger’s innate likeability and talent for throwing slick one-liners while participating in acts of violence (see “Commando”), as well as executive producing Nick Santora (“Reacher”) and Schwarzenegger. As an arresting super-spy, Barbaro more than holds her own—at least, when she isn’t arguing with her father.

Image: Netflix.com

The jokey banter between the members of their crack squad, which includes his office-bound wingman (Milan Carter), whom Emma grew up calling Uncle Barry, does little to relieve the show’s persistent sense of déjà vu.

As proven by the Taylor Sheridan-produced dramas born from “Yellowstone,” a stable that has drawn fellow tough men like Sam Elliott, Harrison Ford, and Sylvester Stallone, streaming has in a manner become the obvious terminus for major cinema performers once they reach a certain age. Schwarzenegger is a perfect fit for the attention-seeking Netflix, which has also ordered a docuseries on him called “Arnold,” which will debut in June.

The presence of that second project, however, just serves to emphasize the idea that “Fubar” is more like an eight-hour “You might like” button for anybody who has recently watched a film from the star’s prime than it is actually poor.

However, the pairing of Schwarzenegger and comparable content in the less ratings-pressured constraints of streaming should be more welcoming. Of note, a CBS revival of “True Lies” was just scrapped. The highlights of this program typically occur in its minor moments, thanks to Schwarzenegger and Barbaro, rather than the otherwise generic narrative, despite the show’s earnest attempts to hold viewers’ attention with its cliffhanging episodes.

As the title implies, “Fubar” isn’t too serious, but if Schwarzenegger had to “be back,” to paraphrase a certain unrelenting cyborg, it would have been nice if the encore had been a little more creative.

Leave a Reply