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Hunters season 2 – Hitler is Alive, but Not Loving it For Long

SERIES REVIEW – Amazon’s alternative history series the Hunters, starring Al Pacino and Logan Lerman, continues its imaginative vigilante action in its second season, with Hitler in the spotlight. Warning, this is a review of the second season, and there is a strong SPOILER about the first season; read it only if you’ve seen the latter!

 

 

The Hunters revolves around the question: is it fair to kill monsters, or is it just a way to become a monster yourself? The answer, at least according to the series, is clearly the former, especially if the monsters are Nazis.

 

 

Nazis live among us

 

The second and final season of David Weil’s 1970s Prime Video thriller, released on 13 January, once again argues that the Third Reich is hiding in plain sight and that the right way to deal with them is to bloody slaughter – especially when it comes to the 20th century’s most notorious madman, Adolf Hitler.

As revealed at the conclusion of the 2020 season of Hunters, Hitler (embodied with grim, seething evil by Udo Kier) is alive and well in this alternate universe, living secretly and comfortably in Buenos Aires alongside ‘The Colonel’ Eva Braun (Lena Olin) and a host of fanatical minions.

Two years later, the only one who suspects she’s alive is Chava Apfelbaum (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a Nazi hunter who is the sister of Ruth (Jeannie Berlin), the New York grandmother of series hero Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman), who was murdered. Chava is a ruthless mercenary pursuing the Führer, whom he suspects is hiding somewhere in South America. In the premiere film, he is shown following his trail to Austria, where he punishes a former Nazi by ripping out his eyes and sticking them into a butter statue.

 

 

Nazi killers are human too

 

The desire of the Nazi murder hunters to be seen as normal people, rather than scheming puppeteers or ‘monsters’, is a recurring motif in The Hunters, as is the desire for Holocaust revenge. Weil’s series has nothing to do with real events, of course; it’s a comic-book-style fantasy in which powerful, resourceful Jews seek revenge on evil Germans and their heinous collaborators.

At the end of a first season filled with spy missions, shootouts and B-movie (and B-movie style) investigations, it took an aptly outrageous turn: Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino), a concentration camp survivor who brings together Jonah and the multicultural hunters – movie star Lonny Flash (Josh Radnor), Sister Sister Sister Harriet (Kate Mulvany), revolutionary counterfeiter Roxy (Tiffany Boone), Vietnam veteran Joe (Louis Ozawa) and Holocaust victims Mindy (Carol Kane) and Murray Markowitz (Saul Rubinek), were exposed as the Nazi “The Wolf” he was supposedly chasing. For this astonishing “betrayal” Jonah inevitably and justifiably killed Meyer.

 

 

Meyer lives only in the past

 

Since, with Meyer’s death, Al Pacino’s character was no longer alive in the “present” (1979) storyline of the Hunters, and something had to be devised to bring the actor back. To counteract this, Weil splits the second season of the series in two, spending half of it on Chava’s collaboration with Jonah and company, and the other half detailing Meyer’s efforts in 1975 to both reunite the original team and avoid being exposed as a notorious Nazi.

It was a vain hope on the part of the director that these two narrative threads would eventually converge – or at least enrich each other – since Pacino’s part is more about filling in the blanks of the past than having any impact on Jonah’s current situation. Still, it gives Pacino the opportunity to continue to dazzle everyone with Yiddish-accented text, whose slightly ribald and exaggerated nature makes all the more sense in light of the fact that Meyer is a con man who is appropriating the language, manners and customs of the people he is persecuting.

 

 

Judge, jury and executioner

 

In the main plot of the Hunters, Jonah reunites his gang with his formerly estranged associates, who were dispersed after Meyer’s death – a process that allows Weil to spend time unraveling the backstories and motivations of each of the major characters. The most controversial of these proves to be FBI agent Millie Morris (Jerrika Hinton), whose sanctimonious attitude to the Nazi massacre disappears when she tracks down and arrests a former SS officer posing as a priest, only to witness him released by the legal system for lack of evidence. In response, Millie assumes the roles of judge, jury, and executioner (killing the ex-Nazi), then struggles with guilt over her decision – a state of mind that forces her to join forces with Jonah and his associates to track down Hitler.

Weil tries to reinforce the deliberately B-grade story with relevant discussions about the morality of vigilantism, but this ‘philosophizing’ tends to be forced and difficult to fit into the overall mood of the series. The Hunters is basically a wild, colorful, violent ‘Guy Ritchie’ Tarantino series about Nazis with a bullet in their head getting their just desserts courtesy of Jewish tough guy heroes, the pushing of moral issues comes across as hypocritical in this series.

And that’s only true because while Jonah and his teammates sometimes feel remorse for slaughtering their enemies, they still take pleasure in punishing the villains, who – whether it’s the scheming Biff (Dylan Baker) or the sadistic Travis (Greg Austin) – by the show’s logic deserves to be killed like rabid dogs. Consequently, when it comes to Jonah’s new fiancée Clara, it’s not a question of who’s right, but whether she sees the justice of Jonah’s position.

 

 

A more complex plot

 

The second season of the Hunters, however, also operates with a slightly more complex plot thread, from the plight of Joe, an Asian-born brainwashed minion of his Nazi captors, to Lonny’s bitterness at being rejected by Roxy. Most poignant, however, are the dynamics between Hitler and his wife, who have different ideas about how best to lead their genocidal movement into the future.

The second season of the series is also a journey around the world (evoked in each episode by an updated stylized board game with puppets impersonating the series’ protagonists), which is less aesthetically screaming about how much the aforementioned Guy Ritchie’s work “inspired” the makers. The series also consists of Mission: Impossible-style missions, and while the action sequences are not as extravagant as in Tom Cruise’s films, there’s no need to complain here, because they are also truly first-rate.

Although Season 2 of The Hunters is uneven and incoherent, the moments that do work are really punchy, and the superbly choreographed, punchy action sequences should also be highlighted, with the final episode providing a near-perfect ending.

-BadSector-

SERIES REVIEW - Amazon's alternative history series the Hunters, starring Al Pacino and Logan Lerman, continues its imaginative vigilante action in its second season, with Hitler in the spotlight. Warning, this is a review of the second season, and there is a strong SPOILER about the first season; read it only if you've seen the latter!     The Hunters revolves around the question: is it fair to kill monsters, or is it just a way to become a monster yourself? The answer, at least according to the series, is clearly the former, especially if the monsters are Nazis.  …
Although Season 2 of The Hunters is uneven and incoherent, the moments that do work are really punchy, and the superbly choreographed, punchy action sequences should also be highlighted, with the final episode providing a near-perfect ending.

Hunters season 2

Rendezés - 7.4
Actors - 6.8
Story - 6.5
Visuals/Music/Sounds/Action - 8.5
Ambience - 7.2

7.3

GOOD

Although Season 2 of The Hunters is uneven and incoherent, the moments that do work are really punchy, and the superbly choreographed, punchy action sequences should also be highlighted, with the final episode providing a near-perfect ending.

User Rating: 3.04 ( 1 votes)

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