Hunters: Nazi-killing drama starring Al Pacino deemed ‘dangerously insensitive’, ‘awkward’ and ‘odd’ by critics

Clémence Michallon
YouTube / Amazon Prime Video

Hunters, the new Nazi-hunting drama starring Al Pacino, has been criticised by reviewers as “dangerously insensitive”, “awkward”, and “odd”.

The series, released by Amazon on Friday, is set in the Seventies in New York City. Pacino stars as Meyer Offerman, the leader of a vigilante group that goes after Nazis.

While many had high hopes for the programme, Hunters appears to have left some critics at best indifferent, at worst uncomfortable.

Here is what reviewers have said so far about Hunters:

The Independent

(Three stars)

With so much ground to cover, so many characters to introduce and so much Nazi blood to shed, the script barely has time to make us care about any of them, even with a 90-minute opening episode. A high percentage of the jokes are duds, and the Hunters have none of the heart and cool that made Tarantino’s Basterds oddly likeable. You might expect a series about such a provocative topic to divide audiences into love and hate, but the main obstacle to Hunters is indifference. (Ed Cumming)

The Guardian

(Two stars)

The publication called Hunters ”dangerously insensitive” in its headline and added in its review: Herein lies the problem with Hunters. It’s too cool and self-conscious for its own good, and seems to revel in any and all deaths on screen, regardless of whether the victims are “guilty” or not. You assume, because of the subject matter, that knotty questions about whether it is possible to be a righteous killer, a good man who murders to good ends, will be raised – but there is little sign by the end of the first 90-minute episode that this is so. (Lucy Mangan)

The Detroit News

(D)

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. The show is supposed to be a pastiche of 1970s 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. (Tom Long)

The Telegraph

(Two stars)

Among the flashbacks was a stomach-turning fictional Auschwitz scene: a sadistic Nazi officer created a chess board with prisoners as the pieces in a game fought to the death. Show creator David Weil would no doubt argue that nothing here is any more outrageous than the cruelties visited on the Jews in the camps, and the Nazi-slaying has a cathartic quality. But turning it into schlocky popcorn entertainment sets a very odd tone. (Anita Singh)

CNN

(Mixed)

Hunters is such an enticing premise as to overcome its execution problems, at least for a while. But the tone of this Amazon series – which counts Al Pacino among its ensemble cast – varies wildly, leaving behind a show that isn’t bad, but which really should be a whole lot better. (Brian Lowry)