Roush Review: Al Pacino Leads a Pack of Colorful Nazi ‘Hunters’
Revenge is a dish served piping hot—and bloody—in Hunters, a proudly outrageous thriller about a colorful band of Nazi-hunting vigilantes. The 10-episode series (five of which were made available for review) is set in 1977, vividly evoking that Boys From Brazil period in its garish retro style, at one point introducing its pulp heroes with mock movie ads, among the series’ other Tarantino-like flourishes.
Said underground group is led by the estimable Al Pacino as financier and Holocaust survivor Meyer Offerman, who laces his gruff and folksy Talmudic platitudes with savage intent. “Living well is not the best revenge,” he insists. “You know what the best revenge is? Revenge.”
Harrowing flashbacks to his (and others’) internment in Nazi concentration camps underscore and intensify their mission, which is to expose and, when necessary, execute Nazis who’ve been hiding in plain sight in the U.S. with new identities—many supplied by our own government—since World War II. These are not, to put it mildly, subtle villains. The opening scene is a real shocker, culminating in a suburban backyard barbecue massacre that makes the stakes of Meyer’s crusade all too clear. “Only the dead know the end of war,” snarls a primary Big Bad. “We’re here now. Everywhere.” (Bonus points to the credit sequence with a chessboard motif pitting the good characters against the evildoers.)
From there, Hunters introduces us to the story’s primary protagonist, and Meyer’s newest and youngest recruit: 19-year-old pot dealer and comic book fan Jonah (the terrific Logan Lerman). He’s first seen coming out of a Brooklyn screening of the original and then-new Star Wars with his best buds, debating the nature of heroism in a scenario where “the good guys are murderers, too.”
On the nose much? Because soon enough, Jonah’s own sense of right and wrong is upended when his grandmother (Jeannie Berlin), a founder of the secret anti-Nazi squad, meets an untimely end. Precociously adept at sniffing out clues and codes to unearth their prey, Jonah is somewhat skeptically invited to join the gang, which includes a spy-turned-killer nun (Kate Mulvany), a blaxploitation vixen (Tiffany Boone), an ego-driven washed-up actor (an amusing Josh Radnor) and a kvetching couple of Holocaust survivors (Saul Rubinek and Carol Kane) who are good with gadgets.
As an FBI agent (Grey’s Anatomy vet Jerrika Hinton) with her own issues begins to catch on to Team Meyer’s reign of retribution, we empathize with Jonah, who wonders if he has the stomach to use concentration-camp torture tactics on the Nazi monsters, now plotting a Fourth Reich. Likewise, Hunters asks us to consider if these heroes are cleansing or corrupting their souls with their violent capers.
Hunters, Series Premiere, Friday, February 21, Amazon Prime Video