Pacino plays a Holocaust survivor with a mission to track down fugitive Nazis.
Featured photo by Christopher Saunders/Amazon Studios
Al Pacino leads a team of covert anti-Nazi vigilantes in Amazon Prime’s new show Hunters. The entire first season premieres on the service Feb. 21.
Set in 1977 New York, the action-drama is based on some real-life efforts to bring fugitive Third Reich officers to justice in the United States. Pacino’s shadowy millionaire Meyer Offerman, a Holocaust survivor, leads a team of loose cannons across age, race and creed.
They track down Nazis who’ve assimilated, barely concealed, into American society and, in fact, often brandish their swastikas in public while they attempt to infiltrate the U.S. government. Less Inglourious Basterds than A-Team, these jaunty heroes are equal parts violent and flip.
The show’s center isn’t Meyer, but Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman), a wide-eyed, nice Jewish boy drawn into the hunters’ orbit. He’s a superhero fan looking for idols in a less abundant time for caped crusaders than our present, and the show reflects his simple logic.
Depicting an old-fashioned battle of good vs. evil, Hunters moves at a fast clip (the first five episodes were made available for review), with a fun palette of primary colors. But Jonah’s ambivalent, angst-riddled embrace of his mission often feels contrived, as does his lashing out at his hunter peers, who are little better developed than the two-dimensional Nazi foes.
While Jonah’s young-adult anxiety gets ample oxygen, the rest of the cast is smothered by their shared vocal tones, needless accents and pun-riddled dialogue. Their showdowns with the Nazis they root out behind false walls (the same techniques Nazis once used to target Jews) aren’t as meaningful as they could be.
Great villains have character, but Hunters’ surviving fascists are defined solely by sieg heils and vile slurs, making the show’s retributive bloodshed ring hollow.