Review: 'Hunters' awkwardly exploits societal illness
Amazon Prime's new streaming series is a mix of genres that adds up to nothing
In an odd way “Hunters” is supposed to be awful. Unfortunately it’s worse than that.
It’s uneven, awkward and often dull. More importantly, it’s sort of yucky.
Amazon’s new series stars Al Pacino as the head of a (mostly) Jewish Magnificent Seven/ Dirty Dozen/ X-Men-like group — varied types, each possessing a particular skill — hunting Nazis in '70s America. At his side is a troubled new recruit (Logan Lerman). Together they will avenge the Holocaust and stop a band of organized AmeriNazis from a grand conspiracy terrorist something something something.
The show is supposed to be a pastiche of '70s exploitation genres — Kung Fu, Grindhouse, Blaxploitation — with the addition of Jewsploitation and torture porn. Tonally it careens madly from sincere to silly, gory to glib. It’s as if someone took notes while watching a marathon of Quentin Tarantino movies, getting all the bits and pieces without understanding why they worked.
The opening episode, a full 90 minutes, takes forever to set things up. Then we’re introduced to our heroes — who inexplicably include an Asian man and black women — at which point we wait around to see their super-skills. Never happens. Five episodes in none of these people seem all that good at anything.
A lot of time is spent in flashbacks, showing Jews being tortured in Nazi concentration camps. This is supposed to provide motivation but often just looks like Jews being tortured in concentration camps.
That’s the yucky part.
“Hunters” works in black-and-white and stereotypes, hiding in the bygone, but today anti-Semitism is on the rise and American Nazis apparently include “very fine people” according to one prominent source. Perhaps now wasn’t the time for a wildly uneven, superficial, comic book-type treatment of this particularly sick and unfortunately still-relevant dynamic.
Tom Long is a longtime contributor to The Detroit News.