FUBAR (2023) Season 1 Review

Entertaining but needed more action


FUBAR is a real return to form for Arnold Schwarzenegger and he is perfectly cast as an aging spy. His team are entertaining and we get some genuinely funny moments. It is more of a character based show with a few sprinkles of action so here’s hoping we get more in the inevitable second season.

Plot: A CIA operative on the verge of retirement discovers a family secret and is forced to go back into the field for one last job.

Review: It feels like a long time since we got to see Arnie in something (2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate was his last movie), so I’ve been looking forward to seeing him back in action with FUBAR. I’d heard good things from friends and for the most part I really enjoyed it. I think it definitely could have done with more action so, this is more of a character drama with some comedic elements and occasionally there are some action scenes.

Arnie is perfectly cast as Luke Brunner, a CIA spy who is facing retirement but is called into action for one last job. He is world weary and is ready for his retirement so he can try to reconnect with his ex-wife and be a part of the family once again. What he doesn’t expect is that his daughter Emma (Monica Barbaro) is also in the Agency and the two are forced to work together despite their various family problems. Luke has essentially lied about his job for years, so Emma is obviously upset when she finds out that her father has kept things from her.

I found Emma got annoying very quickly and it took too long for her to realise that she blames everyone else for her own failings, so she was easily my least favourite character in the show; I understand that’s her character arc but I almost wanted the bad guys to kill her and I wouldn’t have been bothered. I hated the way she treated Carter (Jay Baruchel) who deserves far better and he ended up becoming one of the most appealing characters in the show.

The whole series is about family relationships and how Luke has essentially failed everyone as a father and husband; I thought his relationship with Gabriel Luna’s villain Boro was the most interesting as they had a father/son dynamic that rapidly goes downhill.

Luke’s team are all entertaining with Milan Carter’s Barry there to provide some pop culture references while also attempting to romance new girl Tina. Travis Van Winkle’s Aldon and Fortune Feimster’s Roo are best friends and make for a fun double act especially Roo who has some funny moments (but some of her jokes fall flat).

Arnie has some new soon to be classic one-liners and references to some of his older movies and the show feels like a TV series of True Lies; it even has Tom Arnold show up in a small but entertaining role.

Not all of the humour works and I found the pacing really dragged in some of those middle episodes; the story lacked urgency and at times I’ll admit I was bored. It maybe would have worked better as six episodes where you could have easily trimmed some of the fat off the runtimes.

What action we do get is well done with a few shoot-outs, chases and explosions but I liked how Arnie acted his age in this and wasn’t doing too many unbelievable set-pieces. There are a few fight scenes too but as we are likely to get a season two here’s hoping they give us more action.

Overall, FUBAR is a fun premise that doesn’t really keep your interest for all 8 episodes but it has some laugh out loud moments with Arnie and his team making for an appealing bunch. If we can have more action in future seasons and make Emma more likeable this could be a real winner.