FUBAR review: Not even Arnold Schwarzenegger can save this absurd Netflix original

“Despite entertaining lead performances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Monica Barbaro, Fuber ultimately feels like another Netflix original TV series that would have been better as a movie.”


  • Hilarious lead performances from Schwarzenegger and Barbaro

  • a refreshingly absurd tone


  • a dull, boring villain

  • Longest Episode Runtime

  • lots of old, dirty jokes

fuber Sounds like a straight-to-DVD action movie that was turned into an eight-episode Netflix series. The new Arnold Schwarzenegger-led comedy has enough old jokes and low-rent scenes to pass for something found at the bottom of a bargain bin. To be clear: this is not to say fuber Completely devoid of charm. Conversely, there are moments in the series’ first season where it works perfectly fine as a mindless action comedy.

the difference between fuber And the straight-to-DVD action movies of old, though, is that this one clocks in at about eight hours while the other usually finds a way to say hello and goodbye in the span of about 90 minutes. fuber In other words, another victim of Hollywood’s growing distaste for the feature film format. That trend has resulted in an increasing number of regrettable TV shows. fuberWhich is an occasionally effective comedy that inevitably overstays its welcome by about five hours.

Monica Barbaro and Arnold Schwarzenegger pose on a cargo plane together at FUBAR.
Netflix/Christos Kalohouridis

Just months after Paramount+ offered Sylvester Stallone the chance to lead his own TV series, Netflix has now done the same with Arnold Schwarzenegger. fuber, Although the new, Nick Santora-created series exists in a completely different style than Stallone’s. tulsa kingWell, the two shows have much more in common than just the fact that they’re led by a pair of Hollywood action movie titans. Both series, in particular, give their stars the chance to play lifelong scoundrels who are better at managing their professional lives than their personal lives. Different tulsa kingThough Joe spends much of its first season focusing on the subtleties of his rise to leadership through the world of the mob, fuber is more interested in exploring its protagonist’s atrocious work-life balance than his own secret exploits.

The protagonist in question is Schwarzenegger’s Luke Bruner, a longtime CIA agent who is finally on the verge of retirement when fuber launch. Their plans quickly change when they are ordered on a field mission to take out another agent before their identities are compromised and they are swiftly killed by their target, Boro (Gabriel Luna), a The arms dealer whom Luke once used to see and care for. a baby. When he arrives at Boro’s compound as a surrogate father that the villains once knew, Luke is shocked to discover that the compromised agent he has been sent to rescue is none other than his own daughter. Emma (Monica Barbaro).

Luke and Emma’s shared discovery that they have both been lying to each other about their careers leads to many arguments between father and daughter, many of which continue after their initial mission is over. Are. Their relationship, in fact, emerges as the main focus of fuber, which often explores the consequences of Emma and Luke’s lies, each told with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Fortunately, while the pair’s constant disagreements can often become jarring, Barbaro and Schwarzenegger have enough charisma and chemistry to lift their many scenes together.

Barry and Tina sit in the command center together in Fuber.
Netflix/Christos Kalohouridis

Like many TV shows before it, fuber Takes several episodes to find its premise. The show’s premiere is a strange and oddly paced hour of television, and it really isn’t until its third or fourth episode that it starts to feel like fuber have explored the complexities of their core relationships. This is especially true for the central dynamic between Barbaro’s Emma and Schwarzenegger’s Luke, which works best whenever fuber decides to reduce the level of poison and a grudge ensues between them. A scene in which Schwarzenegger and Barbaro are asked to do an impression of each other while holding puppet-like puppets of their characters is easily one of the fuberFunniest and best.

If this sounds a little ridiculous, that’s because it definitely is. Thank God, fuber Never takes himself too seriously. The series is an absurdist action comedy that feels deeply indebted to movies and TV shows such as true lie And get Smart, Though it is not as the latter or as technically adept as the former, fuber It’s often at its best whenever it’s trying to be the lightest possible version of those two titles. In turn, it’s much less successful whenever it asks you to invest in Emma’s increasingly turbulent relationship with her unrequited longtime boyfriend, Carter (Jay Baruchel), or Alden (Travis), a handsome member of Luke’s Van Winkle) to invest in her flirtatious bond. Personal CIA team.

across the board, fuberThe supporting relationships, characters and subplots leave a lot to be desired. Many of the minor figures in the series, including Alden and Rue (Fortune Feimster), another member of Luke’s team, are not only underdeveloped but also hampered by clunky monologues and exposition dumps that are awkward and distracting. Of fuberOf the supporting cast, only Milan Carter fits in well as Barry, right-hand man to Schwarzenegger’s Luke. Throughout the series’ first season, the character is saddled with a one-note relationship and many jokes that feel like they were pulled straight from a 2000s Chuck Lorre comedy, but Carter’s comedic chemistry with Schwarzenegger makes Barry Always prevents from becoming. an annoyance.

Barry, Emma, ​​and Luke sit together at a table at Fuber's.
Netflix/Christos Kalohouridis

in front of Schwarzenegger, last of us Star Gabriel Luna does his best to bring intensity to his performance fuberis the central villain, but his efforts to make Boro intimidating and tragic are ultimately hampered by the show’s inconsistent characterization. fuber also expands Boro’s story to accommodate the demands of its eight-episode first season, which only makes the conflict between him, Emma, ​​and Luke feel unnecessary and forced.

Its minimal number of set pieces creates an equally superfluous nature fuberMany of the romantic subplots are even more explicit. The series feels simultaneously too stuffed and too thin, and it serves as a reminder that some stories really aren’t meant to turn into ongoing, episodic adventures. If this were just a 90-minute action movie pitting Schwarzenegger’s Luke against his biological daughter and surrogate son, fuber Could have worked as a perfectly fine and fun B-movie. Although as it is now, fuber Yet another long-running Netflix series that manages to lose all of its goodwill before it cuts to black for the last time before its season finale.

fuber Now available to stream on Netflix. Digital Trends was given early access to all eight episodes of the first season.

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