FUBAR: Season 1


Not rated;
Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Monica Barbaro, Milan Carter, Gabriel Luna, Fortune Feimster, Travis Van Winkle, Fabiana Udenio, Jay Baruchel, Barbara Eve Harris, Aparna Brielle, Andy Buckley.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first scripted series finds him in his comfort zone, in an action comedy playing a CIA agent on the verge of retirement who is lured back into the field for one last mission.

Schwarzenegger plays Luke Brunner, who is looking forward to a peaceful retirement with his family after years of lying to them about what he does for a living. They think he works at a fitness supply company, which is actually a cover for his role as a secret agent for the CIA. However, the deception has taken its toll on his personal life, having resulted in a divorce years earlier. But he still loves his ex-wife and hopes to reconcile with her once he retires.

Before he can step down, he is tasked with one final assignment for which he is uniquely qualified — to extract a compromised undercover operative from the organization of an international arms dealer named Boro (Gabriel Luna) who Luke once knew as a child. Years earlier, Luke had infiltrated the criminal empire of Boro’s father in order to kill him, and tried to provide for the boy before he eventually broke bad. The plan is for Luke to resume his cover identity to gain access to Boro’s compound to rescue the endangered agent and find out what Boro is up to.

To Luke’s surprise, the agent turns out to be his daughter, Emma (Monica Barbaro of Top Gun: Maverick), who is equally surprised to learn her father also is a spy. They then have to work together to stop Boro from creating a miniaturized nuclear weapon to sell on the black market to terrorists, forming the central arc of the first season’s eight episodes.

The premise is essentially the sequel we never got to Schwarzenegger’s True Lies (the original 1994 movie, not CBS’s awful reboot series that just got canceled), with a few tweaks by creator Nick Santora (“Scorpion”) to make it its own thing.

One of the primary plot threads of True Lies was the subterfuge between an agent and his loved ones, which is also one of the main story elements of “FUBAR.” Emma at first resents her father for lying to her for years and causing so much anguish for her mother, but soon comes to realize she and her father are all too alike. Luke, on the other hand, must come to terms with the fact his daughter has taken up his profession, and cautions her against making the same mistakes he made, particularly when it comes to the boyfriend (Jay Baruchel) she has to constantly lie to about being out of town on business.

“FUBAR” also offers a lot of laughs in between the action, as the series also serves as a tongue-in-cheek homage to Schwarzenegger’s entire career with plenty of references for fans to enjoy.

By its very existence, however, the show also serves as a reminder that a proper American True Lies Blu-ray release is long overdue, let alone a 4K release. While it pops up on a streaming service or cable occasionally, the only domestic disc release True Lies has ever received is the old DVD first released in 1999, and it isn’t available for digital purchase either — an oversight that this show provides the perfect excuse to rectify.

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Netflix Names Arnold Schwarzenegger its ‘Chief Action Officer’ as Actor Readies First-Ever Scripted TV Role

Netflix announced it has named longtime box office action star Arnold Schwarzenegger as its new “chief action officer,” in a marketing ploy surrounding the Austrian actor’s first-ever scripted episodic show “FUBAR,” which begins streaming on May 25 on the platform.

Schwarzenegger stars as a C.I.A. operative on the edge of retirement who discovers a family secret and is called back into the field for one last job — assisted by his CIA agent daughter.

In addition to anecdotal links underscoring Schwarzenegger’s qualifying life moments for his new executive new role, Netflix announced its upcoming slate of action-themed movies and TV content, including Chris Hemsworth’s return in Extraction 2 (June 16), a third season of “The Witcher” with Henry Cavill on June 29 for Vol. 1 and July 27 for Vol. 2; and Gal Gadot as an intrepid heroine in Heart of Stone.

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The upcoming action slate includes Blood & Gold on May 26, the documentary “Arnold” on June 7, series “Bloodhounds” on June 9, Bird Box Barcelona (July 14), They Cloned Tyrone (July 21), “Who is Erin Carter?” (Aug. 24); Heart of Stone (Aug. 11); “Lupin Part 3″ (Oct. 5); Rebel Moon (Dec. 22); Ballerina (Q4 2023); Believer 2 (Q4 2023); “DNA Do Crime” (Q4 2023) and Lift (Jan. 12, 2024). 

Upcoming series and movies without release dates include “The Brothers Sun,” movie Carry On, “Gyeongseong Creature” season one; “Obliterated” season one, “Pax Massilia” and “Sweet Home” season two.

Top Gun: Maverick


Street Date 11/1/22;
Box Office $716.58 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $37.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of intense action, and some strong language.
Stars Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Lewis Pullman, Jay Ellis, Bashir Salahuddin, Charles Parnell, Jon Hamm, Val Kilmer.

Among the many considerable plaudits earned by Top Gun: Maverick during a historic box office run, one of the most remarkable might be the degree to which it retroactively makes its predecessor a better film.

The long-awaited (and pandemic-delayed) sequel to 1986’s Top Gun finds Pete Mitchell, callsign Maverick, the hotshot fighter pilot played by Tom Cruise, older but not much wiser — still flaunting the rules and refusing to evolve beyond his core identity as a naval aviator.

Tucked away from official duty while serving as a test pilot for a new stealth fighter called the Darkstar, Maverick is summoned back to Top Gun with orders to train a group of elite graduates from the famed dogfighting school for a mission to bomb an illegal nuclear facility in an unnamed rogue nation (which is definitely not Iran, wink wink). The mission is said to be nearly impossible to pull off, with the pilots forced to contend not only with GPS jamming and anti-aircraft missiles, but also the threat of new technologically superior fifth-generation enemy fighters. The key to survival will be how could the pilot in the cockpit truly is.

The film is essentially what it would feel like if the entirety of the first “Star Wars” movie were focused just on the pilots training for and carrying out the attack on the Death Star.

As to Maverick’s own personal growth, one stumbling block may be that he still blames himself for the death of his best friend, Goose, in the original film. The sequel, thus, provides some measure of a pathway to atonement in the form of Goose’s son, Rooster (Miles Teller), who is among the new generation of pilots vying for a spot in the mission, and who resents Maverick for trying to impede his own career.

In his return to San Diego (even though in real life that’s not where Top Gun is located anymore), Maverick even gets a chance to catch up with old flame Penny (Jennifer Connelly), whose character is mentioned in the original film as a prior dalliance for the young pilot.

Thus, the two films, when taken together, tell the grand arc of Maverick learning where he fits in the world — and either adjusting to the new reality or testing its limits until it kills him.

While it also succeeds on its own merits, the sequel is evocative of the original but not a straight retread. There are scenes and characters that echo what came before, but the screenplay uses such nostalgia to enhance the story, rather than rely on it. In turn, circumstances of the original film take on greater meaning now that we know how they pay off.

That’s because Top Gun: Maverick works on so many levels, from an emotionally exhilarating story of an ersatz family coming together, to an eminently watchable, fist-pumping patriotic thrill ride.

Joseph Kosinski proves to be a deft choice for the director’s chair, bringing his reputation for strong visual dynamics to bear in making the film seem like a tribute to the late Tony Scott, whose work helming the original helped redefine the action genre. Fittingly, Top Gun: Maverick is a throwback to the heyday of action films that didn’t try to be more than they needed to be — entertaining crowds with charismatic movie stars, exciting combat, a love story to raise the stakes, and some chart-topping pop tunes (which in the case of this film should give Lady Gaga a chance at another Oscar).

The aerial photography is breathtaking, with the only potential drawback from a visual standpoint being the use of the F-18 Superhornet as the primary hero fighter. The F-18 has been featured in a lot of movies before, but it looks like a generic assembly line fighter jet and just doesn’t have the sexy big-screen presence of the F-14 Tomcat, which was featured in the original film.

Of course, switching from the F-14 to the F-18 was pretty much mandated by the constraints of reality, as the Tomcat was retired from active service in 2006, replaced by the F-18 as the primary naval fighter (with the F-35 set to take on more prominence going forward). The only country today still flying the F-14 in their fleets is Iran (just like the “fictional” enemy in the film, wink wink).

Cinematically, the film takes the original’s catchphrase of “the need for speed” to the next level, putting the actors in real F-18s to pull legit G-forces that you can see on their faces and practically feel through the screen. With the F-18 coming in both single and dual-pilot configurations, the production could stick the actors in the backseat and film them as if they were flying the single-seat version.

The earnestness of the filmmaking and cinematography gives the film an unmatched level of verisimilitude that makes it effortless to enjoy — despite what seems to be a cottage industry of former fighter pilots popping up on YouTube to analyze the technical inaccuracies of the film.

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The key question of the film is, as an aging pilot, where does Maverick belong? To many film fans, the answer to that question isn’t just that he belongs in the air, but in the cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat, which is perhaps the most iconic fighter plane of all time thanks in no small part to being featured in 1980s films such as Top Gun.

Being well aware of this, it’s a good bet the filmmakers will find a way for Maverick to find his way back to the F-14. And when they do, it’s a pure hit of that sweet sugar we all crave.

The filmmakers know exactly what they’re doing, taking full advantage of basic screenwriting lessons of setup and payoff. This is a screenplay that tells you exactly where it’s going, and it’s a ride you want to take.

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The 4K presentation of Top Gun: Maverick is simply stunning, with reference-quality visuals and sound that should really push the boundaries of what home theaters can do. The HD presentation features a shifting aspect ratio, expanding to fill the screen during the aerial scenes to take advantage of the Imax photography used during production.

The film is offered in standalone 4K, Blu-ray and DVD editions — frustratingly, none of the wide releases are combo packs, aside from a code to access a digital copy being included with the 4K and Blu-ray sets. There is a limited-edition Steelbook with both 4K and Blu-ray included. A gift set of both films on both 4K and Blu-ray is due Dec. 6.

Only the Blu-ray editions include bonus materials, which are also accessible through the digital copy at some retailers.

These include several insightful behind-the-scenes featurettes. The eight-minute “Breaking New Ground” delves into the challenges of finding the techniques to make the film as realistic as possible, including creating new cameras for the cockpits; the nine-minute “Cleared for Take Off” invites viewers into the training the actors received to film the aerial sequences; the five-minute “A Love Letter to Aviation” deals with Cruise’s passion for flying and how he piloted his own World War II-era P-51 Mustang plane in the film; and the seven-and-a-half-minute “Forging the Darkstar” looks at the filming of the fictional plane prototype in the opening sequence, for which the the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works development team was brought in to lend an air of authenticity.

Also included are music videos for the songs “Hold My Hand” by Lady Gaga (the new love theme that in tandem with the original film’s theme serves as the basis for the new film’s musical score), and “I Ain’t Worried” by Onerepublic (the song that accompanies the beach football scene that is this film’s version of the original’s volleyball scene).

Exclusive to the 4K disc (and digitally) is “Masterclass With Tom Cruise,” a terrific 50-minute discussion with Cruise at the Cannes Film Festival about his career.

Among the extras available digitally are a 26-minute promotional video of comedian James Corden going through pilot training with Cruise. There’s also a short video from CinemaCon of Cruise introducing a screening of Top Gun: Maverick while filming an aerial stunt for the upcoming Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, a trailer for which also is included.