Warning: Spoilers For FUBAR Season 1 Below!Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Netflix series FUBAR might be an action comedy, but it saddles the screen icon with some of his lamest setpieces and one-liners. While The Terminator is the movie that made Arnie a star, it could be argued Commando is the one that defined his screen persona. His title character John Matrix shot, punched and hacked his way through dozens of villains, and often had a dry quip or bad pun to go along with it. This mixture of action and comedy made him one of the biggest movie stars in the world and can be found in everything from Total Recall to The Expendables movies.
FUBAR is a riff on Arnie’s own True Lies, where his retired CIA agent Luke learns his daughter Emma (Monica Barbaro) is also with the agency. FUBAR is Arnold’s first TV show, making it fresh new territory for the action icon. Fans of the Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies of old might be left underwhelmed by FUBAR, however, as it puts the emphasis firmly on goofy comedy over setpieces.
FUBAR Fails The Action Part Of “Action-Comedy”
FUBAR embraces the fact that Arnold is older than he was in his action heyday, so of course he’s not going to be firing machine guns in both hands or performing outrageous stunts. When it comes to shootouts or punch-ups he still carries himself very well; it’s just the action of FUBAR itself is consistently underwhelming. The show has numerous car chases and gun battles, but they lack any real visceral impact or creativity. In fact, they’re mostly just perfunctory and dull.
FUBAR episodes 2 and 3 revolve around a train carrying nuclear waste, but the reliance on CGI and the green screen robs the sequence of tension. Likewise, a gunfight where Luke and Emma are in a warehouse is well-staged, but the need to inject a song into the setpiece to give it more of a comic edge feels jarring. While some of Arnold’s latter-day action movies like The Last Stand or Sabotage didn’t live up to his heyday either, they at least had decent action to make up for that. FUBAR’s setpieces feel like an afterthought in comparison.
Arnie’s FUBAR One-Liners Needed Work
Another area where FUBAR is a letdown is Arnie’s patented one-liners. Just as The Expendables series seemed to think Schwarzenegger was some kind of meme soundboard, FUBAR misunderstands his comic persona. This results in some resoundingly limp comic quips. In one episode, he hits a security guard with a car and quips “Oh, he feels a little rundown.” Another episode is a nod to a scene in Eraser where he’s pretending to deliver balloons, which he uses as a distraction to gain entry into a mansion.
He shocks a guard with a taser, and delivers another groaner with “You seem to be SHOCKED to see me.” FUBAR penchant for terrible puns even extends to episode titles, with “Stole Train” and “Urine Luck” being the worst offenders. It’s not like Arnold hasn’t delivered some weak quips in his previous movies, but stretched over eight episodes, his lack of quality zingers becomes an issue.