Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 3/5
On paper, Hunters has a really interesting and unique premise that, if handled correctly, could easily be a sure-fire hit. The very concept of a Fourth Reich operating in America while a group of Nazi Hunters band together to try and stop them feels like something ripped right out of a comic book. This is something the creators of Hunters clearly knew too, given the amount of comic book references and comedic elements peppered throughout the series.
Alongside this are a medley of different tones and ideas, ranging from Quentin Tarantino style violence to deadpan humour and surrealist drama, all blended in with a variety of different plot ideas thrown into this messy, bloated but strangely endearing 10 episode series.
At the heart of the story lies Jonah, a 19 year old that finds his life turned upside down when his Grandmother Ruth is killed in cold blood by a mysterious figure in the middle of the night. At her wake, Jonah is approached by a man named Meyer, an old friend of Ruth’s who becomes entangled in his story after he goes after the man responsible for killing her. What follows is a journey that sees Jonah join this misfit group of fighters who hunt down various Nazi targets, with The Wolf and The Colonel topping the list.
While this story consumes most of the series, we also follow Agent Millie who begins piecing together the breadcrumbs of evidence along the way that leads to her poking the Hornet’s Nest and subsequently being hunted by a Nazi assassin called Travis. Along with this are various other subplots, one involving a high-ranking Nazi operating within the white-house called Biff, another following the Nazi antagonists themselves, lead by the aforementioned Colonel, and a minor plot involving Jonah’s trio of friends that flit in and out of the story across the episodes.
There’s an awful lot going on here, as the various stories converge and break throughout the 10 hour run-time, with a lot of flashback scenes to the Holocaust Camp used to serve as accompanying characterisation to some of the modern-day material. While this does work to emphasize just how evil the Nazis were during this time, it also takes away from some of the present day material. The show also has a serious issue with padding too – with a lot of the episodes feeling overlong and slow-paced.
The pacing is an issue inherent with this show and with the exception of a few episodes – including the excellent episode 7 – the show has a tendency to really slow to a snail’s crawl. The 60+ minute run time for most of these episodes (not to mention the feature-length 90 minute opener) gives no justifiable reason why these have been padded out so much. This same story could so easily have been told (albeit not as effectively mind) in a long movie rather than a serialized format.
Given the amount of screen-time each of these stars get, it’s ironic then that Al Pacino is arguably the weakest character out of the entire cast. The supporting players are the ones who really sell the concept and in particular, Meyer’s squad are all colourful and cartoonish enough to play off the comic-book-esque vibe the show is so desperately trying to emulate. The trouble is, not all the characters share this same message and this results in a medley of different tones and ideas that don’t really mesh that well together and at its worst, disjoint the entire premise being built.
But yet despite all of its issues, Hunters is a lot of fun. There’s some genuinely memorable moments here, some of the action is really well-shot and the early episodes do an excellent job bringing you into the world. When the soundtrack works, it perfectly harmonizes with the action on screen and episode 7 itself is easily the highlight of the entire show, with some solid action and a tense hour to play with. For that alone, Hunters is a wild ride and while it may not be the most consistent of the year, there’s still fun to be had here.
With no mention of a second season but plenty of scope for this story to expand in the future, Hunters tries to give this bumpy journey a good pay-off with two big twists at the end. This will almost certainly be enough to entice people to come back to see what happens next but whether you’ll be willing to take another 10+ hour trip to get there or not remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure though, Hunters is going to be the most polarizing show of the year and like marmite itself, you’ll either love it or hate it.
Verdict - 6/10