You don’t watch an Arnold Schwartzenegger movie for the plot, you watch it for the action. And his newest series, FUBAR on Netflix, is no different. The story itself is fairly predictable and the delivery is incredibly cheesy, but it packs a punch when it comes to action and thrills.
FUBAR centers around C.I.A. operative, Luke Brunner (Arnold Schwartzenegger, The Terminator) who is finishing up his final mission and preparing to retire from his life of secrecy. His goal for this next stage of life is to enjoy his fancy ship (gifted to him from a previous undercover mission) and win his ex-wife back, despite having been divorced for 15 years. Unfortunately, before he can wash his hands clean of his past, a fellow operative’s cover is about to be blown. Luckily for the C.I.A., Luke has history with this particular mark and agrees to delay his retirement in order to save his colleague.
We know from watching the previews that the operative, code named “Panda,” is really Luke’s daughter Emma Brunner (Monica Barbaro, Top Gun: Maverick). He of course comes to find this out when he is face to face with her fist fighting locals for money. Personally, it would have been better if they did not reveal this surprise ahead of the show. While Emma plays a pretty big role in the show overall, it would have been such a wild surprise to have kept her out of the previews and have viewers find out along with Luke that his daughter has unknowingly ended up in the “family business.”
Schwartzenegger and Barbaro work really well together on-screen as father and daughter. Now that each of them knows they are both living double lives, Emma is able to piece together parts of her childhood that were impacted by her father’s job. Seeing the toll this job has taken on her parents’ marriage, Emma is now left to reconsider the future of her relationship with Carter (Jay Baruchel, How to Train Your Dragon). Balancing life, love, and honest communication in their line of work proved to be impossible for her father, despite the obvious spark that still exists between Luke and his ex-wife, Tally (Fabiana Udenio, Jane the Virgin). Unfortunately, with Luke no longer retiring, his hopes of rekindling their relationship may be put on hold indefinitely. It will be interesting to see how Emma’s experience growing up with an unreliable father will impact the choices she makes with her current relationship. It’s likely she’ll have more empathy for the choices her dad had to make all in the name of maintaining government secrets.
No C.I.A. operative would be successful without their team, and now that Luke and Emma are aware of each other’s true careers and have had interactions with this season’s “big bad” Boro Polonia (Gabriel Luna, The Last of Us) they are assigned to the same unit to help keep Boro from making good on his father’s cause of gaining wealth, power, and influence through illegal arms deals. We meet some of the additional members of the team briefly in the first episode, including Barry (Milan Carter, Warped!), co-owner of their cover job selling gym equipment and previously known to Emma as “Uncle Barry,” and Aldon (Travis Van Winkle, You) and Roo (Fortune Feimster, The Mindy Project), who together provide the crucial elements of comic relief and pretty boy swagger. Luckily the deadpan delivery of Feimster combined with the casual confidence of Van Winkle help to pull off the many one-liners that border both cheesy and raunchy.
For shows like this, this writer would recommend giving it a few episodes for the story to find its footing. At the end of the day, FUBAR is exactly what it sets out to be: a fun, action forward show with an iconic lead and a lot of heart.
FUBAR is now streaming on Netflix.