Star Rating:


Streaming On: Watch FUBAR on Netflix

Season: 1

Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Monica Barbaro, Jay Baruchel

Release Date: Thursday 25th May 2023

Genre(s): Action, Comedy

Running time: 480 minutes

'True Lies' is one of those movies where, if you're a student of action cinema, you'll probably break into a smile thinking about it. It's so dumb, so over-the-top, it's James Cameron effectively boiling the pot for a movie and making it all about craft. Maybe he was so burned out after 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' that he just wanted an easy job with little or no complications with it. The result was a fantastic action comedy that's been copied a few times, but never equalled. Hell, even the recent TV series that was inspired by it was cancelled after one season. It didn't have Arnold Schwarzenegger and it didn't have Jamie Lee Curtis, and now that we have 'FUBAR', you realise that there's more to it than just a concept.

To be clear, 'FUBAR' is a straight lift from 'True Lies'. The Governator plays a legendary CIA agent who has managed to successfully hide his profession from his ex-wife and his only daughter for decades. On his last day, he's asked to go to Colombia and extract an agent who's embedded with the son of a terrorist that he previously brought down. When he arrives in Colombia, he discovers - to his barely recognisable shock - that his daughter is the agent he's there to get out. After a pretty bog-standard action setpiece, the two escape and return to the USA where they're paired up together to stop the son of the bad guy who's intent on building a bomb that will make any major US city glow in the dark for a few hundred years.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been a gifted comedy actor. You only need to look at 'Kindergarten Cop' - "IT'S NOT A TUMAHHH!" - or even 'True Lies' to know that it's his strongest suit. Put him into a dramatic role, something that requires him not to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he's lost. In saying that, his comedy does always tend to be one-note. Trying to sustain the schtick over a few episodes like 'FUBAR' does mean it gets pretty rote, and you're again and again confronted with his limitations. He does his best, of course, and seeing him try to negotiate slapstick moments with a kind of sitcom dad energy is funny. On top of that, they've thrown in people like Fortune Feimster and Jay Baruchel, both of them gifted comedy actors, to try and carry the load - but it just becomes too much. Likewise, Monica Barbaro does her best with the material, but ultimately, it's something that's stretched too long and her lack of comedic chops comes into sharp relief. In 'True Lies', Schwarzenegger bounced off Jamie Lee Curtis, whose comedic talents far surpassed Schwarzenegger's.

In making a show that is so clearly inspired by and homaging a movie, you're automatically inviting comparisons and this shows up where 'FUBAR' is lacking. The direction throughout each of the episodes is generic at best and just plain uninspired at worst, the writing doesn't have any kind of spark to it, and the cast is pretty underwhelming when you come right down to it. When it comes to sequels or TV spinoffs, there's often a good reason as to why it didn't happen immediately. Considering that 'True Lies' came out in 1994 and it's now 2023, a sequel should have happened a long time ago - but it didn't. 'FUBAR' isn't a sequel, sure, but it's the closest thing we've gotten to it. It's also a reminder of why 'True Lies' didn't need a sequel.