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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 12, 2021



   AL PACINO AS Meyer Offerman & lOGAN LERMAN as Jonah Heidelbaum in 'HUNTERS'

‘HUNTERS’ on Amazon Prime is the first TV series of veteran Hollywood actor Al Pacino and he certainly won’t disappoint you. 

He plays a Jew who survived the brutalities of the Holocaust and is now a Nazi hunter. The show meanders, but his presence certainly makes it watchable as he is really good in all his scenes.

The show is set in 1977 and said to be inspired by real life Nazi hunters. The chilling first episode is one hour and a half and starts with a shocking opening scene. 

The U.S. undersecretary of state, Biff Simpson (Dylan Baker), is hosting a pool party when one of the guests recognizes him as the Nazi officer who tortured her in an internment camp. 

He then kills not only all the guests but also his own family and pretends that he himself is a victim of an unknown assailant. 

This scene concretely establishes the presence of Nazis in America. We are then introduced to Jonah Heidelbum (Logan Lerman), a 19 year old Jewish boy living in Brooklyn with his Safta (Hebrew for grandmother), who is then killed right inside their own home. 

In his Safta’s funeral, he meets her old friend, Al Pacino as Meyer Offerman, a very wealthy Jew who’s also a Holocaust survivor and now leads a secret group of Nazi hunters.

Jonah is very good in breaking codes and through some clues, he correctly deduces who killed his grandma and is determined to get revenge. 

It turns out to be Nazi guard in the Auschwitz concentration camp who then killed her Safta’s sister and now owns a shop in New York.

He confronts the killer but Jonah doesn’t know how to fight, so the Nazi quickly subdues him and tortures him. He’s about to be killed but Meyer arrives and kills the Nazi. 

The relationship between Jonah and Meyer as his mentor is slowly established, with Meyer introducing him to the other Nazi hunters. 

He volunteers to be a member as his Safta’s replacement. 

The hunters include Murray and Mindy Markowitz (husband and wife played by Saul Rubinek and Carol Kane whose young son was brutally killed by a Nazi in the concentration camp). 

Then there’s Sister Harriet (Kate Mulvany), a fake nun whose parents were killed by Nazis but she survived the war when she was sent to Britain as a child named Rebekah.

The other hunters are Roxy Jones (Tiffany Boone), a young black mother who’s an expert forger; Lonny Flash (Josh Radnor), an actor; and Joe (Louis Ozawa), a Japanese who fought in Vietnam. 

As you can see, the cast is multiracial as it has Blacks and Asians, although how they become part of the nazi hunters is not really explained. 

In the course of the series, they discover that there are Nazi war criminals who now live in the USA and are conspiring to revive Hitler’s Third Reich as the Fourth Reich. Their leader is a woman known as The Colonel (played by Swedish actress Lena Olin.)  

Working for her is a cold-blooded and psychopathic henchman, Travis (Greg Austin), an American Neo-Nazi who has ideas of his own. 

Also a major character is Millie Moris (Jerrika Hinton), a black FBI agent who stumbles on Operation Paper Clip, an operation where many German Nazi scientists were relocated to the U.S. and later on also discovers Meyer’s underground operations in hunting Nazis.

The series runs for ten episodes and the storytelling can be needlessly protracted and circuitous, the tone uneven with the pacing sometimes too cumbersome, broken every now and then by some action sequences. 

There are many grim flashbacks showing the horrifying brutality experienced by some of the characters while suffering inside the death camps. 

Some of them just get on the way and hampers the fluidity of the storytelling, like the scenes showing dead people suddenly popping up and talking to the living.

There are also instances where the tortured Jews get fulfilling revenge on their tormentors. 

The last two episodes are action-packed, but the big twists in the end are so contrived and quite incredible. We don’t know if you’d buy them, but suffice it to say that some major characters will not be back in Season 2.

The show may not always hit the mark, but there’s no denying that the whole cast delivers strong ensemble acting, including Logan Lerman who plays one of the leads. 

He starts as off-putting as the dumb and clumsy Jonah, but you eventually warm up to his one-dimensional character as Meyer’s reluctant ward who becomes more callous as the show goes on, making this a coming of age story for him. 

But through it all, there’s no doubt that the show’s true star is Al Pacino, who brings a galvanizing mixture of toughness and vulnerability to his role, evident in his paternal care for the grieving Jonah and in his fortitude in exacting retribution from their Nazi tormentors.