“Hunters” is the latest original series from Amazon Prime Video, with the debut of all 10 episodes on Feb. 21. The show takes place in late 1970s New York City and focuses on a wide range of characters. It focuses on a group of Nazi hunters, who begin to chase down Nazi war criminals as they attempt to regain the power they lost in the war.
From the very scene of the show, stakes are high as a barbeque gone wrong ensues. When a famous politician is revealed to be a closeted Nazi who escaped to America and assumed a new identity, the barbeque quickly turns into a bloodbath. The show communicates a clear message: Nazis are living among us. This scene, paired with a mature content warning at the beginning, immediately communicates to audiences that this show is not for the faint of heart.
More Nazis are introduced as the episode progresses, and we meet the show’s young Jewish protagonist Jonah Heidelbaum, played by heartthrob Logan Lerman. Jonah witnesses the ruthless assassination of his grandmother by one of these resurfacing Nazis and vows to hunt down her killer. By the end of the episode, however, he overestimates his ability to get revenge and is soon rescued by Meyer Offerman, portrayed by none other than Al Pacino.
As you watch the show, you can’t help but notice many familiar tropes of other famous films and shows. When Jonah Heidelbaum, a bullied Jewish teenager, begins his hunt for his grandmother’s killer — who he does not yet know is a Nazi — he stumbles into the role of a mini-vigilante, only to be guided by a much older and wiser mentor, Meyer Offerman. This entire dynamic feels very Peter Parker-esque, wherein Jonah is about to learn much more than he was prepared to handle.
Meyer Offerman finally reveals the truth to Jonah about his grandmother’s connections of Nazi-hunting and reveals a troupe of Nazi hunters. He asks Jonah to join “The Hunt” and fight the Nazis before they succeed in creating a Fourth Reich in the United States. While the show is not based on any particular group in history, there have been known Nazi hunters in the past. The show is not shy when it comes to ensuring that audiences and characters alike are aware of the brutal history of the Holocaust and concentration camps.
The pilot episode is close to 90 minutes long and its pace is far too slow. For the most part, the rest of the season features 60-minute episodes, so an extended pilot would mean that it contains way more action and excitement to get audiences hooked? Wrong. While the exposition of the first episode is necessary, there were definitely moments within the episode that could have been cut. In an attempt for the show to have some comedic relief, there was an excessive amount of crude jokes and humor that became more annoying than funny after a while. Moreover, the bloody and violent scenes of the episode felt more like a Quentin Tarantino than what could have been a much grittier show.
Despite grievances about the show’s tone, the performances of the actors have all been phenomenal so far. “Hunters” is executively produced by Jordan Peele and stars the great Al Pacino. It has the potential to be an incredible show, and the first episode only ends with the introduction of the Nazi-hunting group. It will be interesting and exciting to see how the group interacts with each other and to learn more about the inner workings of the organization itself.