78°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Al Pacino headlines ‘Hunters,’ Amazon’s bonkers Nazi revenge fantasy

Michael Corleone. Tony Montana. Frank Serpico. That blind fella from “Scent of a Woman” whose “Hoo-ah” became the laziest one-word impression since Ronald Reagan’s raspy, drawn-out “Well.”

Al Pacino has delivered some iconic performances over the years. One of his greatest, though, may never be seen: keeping a (presumably) straight face when he was pitched the bonkers new Nazi-busting series “Hunters” (Friday, Amazon).

Keep in mind that, aside from a 1968 guest spot on the ABC drama “N.Y.P.D.” and a handful of Emmy-bait HBO projects — playing a rogue’s gallery of Roy Cohn, Joe Paterno, Phil Spector and Jack Kevorkian — Pacino has never done television.

He may never have even watched television.

Then “Hunters” creator David Weil, who at the time had never had a screenplay produced, went to sell him on playing Meyer Offerman, the mysterious, “Bruce Wayne rich” leader of a vigilante group dedicated to rooting out Nazis in America.

That Weil wasn’t laughed out of the room and actually persuaded Pacino to sign on for his first role in a TV series is a testament to how promising “Hunters” really is.

Offerman and his Hunters aren’t going after some hate-spewing, anti-Semitic keyboard jockeys, or even the likes of those knuckleheads on the wrong end of that infamous “some very fine people on both sides” Charlottesville rally. They’re taking down actual, ran-the-concentration-camps Nazis in 1977 America — and they’re doing it with style. So what if much of that style seems to have been appropriated from Quentin Tarantino?

The Dirty Dozen-style Hunters are made up of Roxy Jones (Tiffany Boone), whose attitude is as big as her Afro; Vietnam vet Joe Mizushima (Louis Ozawa); married weapons experts Mindy and Murray Markowitz (Carol Kane, Saul Rubinek); British spy-turned-nun Sister Harriet (Kate Mulvany); and insufferable movie star Lonny Flash (“How I Met Your Mother’s” Josh Radnor), who addresses a colleague as “Judah Macca-bro” and drops a way-too-personal anecdote about a sexual encounter he had with folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary.

If the Tarantino vibe weren’t obvious enough, considering “Hunters” is a spiritual sequel to his revisionist romp “Inglourious Basterds,” each member of Offerman’s crew is introduced via brief, grindhouse-style movie trailers accompanied by a surf-rock version of “Hava Nagila” from Dick Dale, whose “Misirlou” is synonymous with “Pulp Fiction.”

Aside from serving as a shorthand for viewers, those intros are for the benefit of Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman), who stumbles into the Hunters’ secretive agenda and invites himself to join the crew after his grandmother is murdered in front of him in the home they share.

She, like Offerman, survived the camps, scenes from which are re-created in horrifying detail. This mix of comedic elements with the deadly serious nature of these atrocities is a very fine line, one that “Hunters” often stumbles over. It’s not handled nearly as deftly as writer-director Taika Waititi’s Oscar-winning “Jojo Rabbit.” Then again, it’s likely no one involved ever even tried.

After all, the series envisions an America in which a white nationalist has infiltrated the U.S. government to the point where he serves as a direct adviser to the president — like that could ever happen. (Eye roll.)

At its heart, “Hunters” is a pulpy revenge fantasy, with the Nazis the Hunters target meeting gruesome, poetic fates.

After spouting various platitudes from religious texts, Offerman eventually comes clean with young Jonah: “The Talmud is wrong. Living well is not the best revenge. You know what the best revenge is? Revenge.”

Despite Offerman’s sometimes shaky accent, Pacino obviously is very good.

Probably not as good, though, as he was at keeping his composure during that meeting and giving the trippy, tantalizing “Hunters” a chance.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
KATS WALK: A walking tour on south Las Vegas Strip – VIDEO
RJ columnist John Katsiometes takes a walking tour of the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. (John Katsiometes and Kevin Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tiger King character has Las Vegas connection - VIDEO
Entertainment reporter John Katsilometes talks about the popular "Tiger King" and Jeff Lowe, a central figure in the Netflix documentary phenomenon who wanted to do business with the last Las Vegas Strip entertainer to use wild tigers in his act. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coranavirus victim Howard Berman playing the harmonica in April 2014 - VIDEO
Howard Berman, 66, playing the harmonica at a jam session in April 2014. Berman, who was active in the Las Vegas music community, died on March 24, 2020, from COVID-19. (Diana Andriola)
Boarded-up businesses in the Arts District add some color - VIDEO
Businesses in the Arts District have commissioned local artists to paint murals on the boards covering their doors and windows. When the boards are removed, they will be auctioned off to raise money for those affected by the coronavirus shutdowns. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sold-out Electric Daisy Carnival still scheduled for May - VIDEO
In a post on his social media platforms, festival founder Pasquale Rotella confirmed that EDC remains scheduled for May 15-17 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway despite coronavirus concerns that have sideline scads of other live music events. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
City of Las Vegas responds to calls to allow restaurants offering curbside pickup
Alcohol is now allowed in curbside meal pickups in Las Vegas. The city of Las Vegas has responded to calls to allow restaurants offering curbside pickup service to include alcohol in those meals. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lady Gaga delays new album release - VIDEO
The pop star was planning to drop her sixth LP, "Chromatica," on April 10, but she's made the "tough decision" to push back the launch following the coronavirus outbreak. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ways to keep yourself from going crazy at home during coronavirus - VIDEO
Take art classes with your kids. Install a bidet. Practice yoga. Buy houseplants. Catch up your streaming queue. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas nightclub giant Hakkasan Group lays off 1,600 - VIDEO
The Las Vegas Strip’s leading nightlife company has let go of nearly its entire workforce, leaving about 1,600 staffers suddenly unemployed, due to the shutdowns during the coronavirus crisis. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Disneyland closes in response to coronavirus - VIDEO
Walt Disney Company announced the closure of its Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, on Thursday afternoon. Known as the "happiest place on earth," Disneyland has closed its doors only three other times in 65 years. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts to temporarily close buffets amid coronavirus fears - VIDEO
MGM Resorts International will temporarily close its Las Vegas buffets, effective Sunday amid growing coronavirus fears. (Al Mancini and James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morimoto tackles Italian cooking at Eataly Las Vegas
Masaharu Morimoto showed off his skills in a slightly different context Thursday night, when he dropped by Manzo in Eataly to launch the Italian restaurant’s new Guest Chef series. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator leaving Mirage on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
The 11-year Las Vegas Strip headliner is on a venue hunt, confirming Wednesday he is leaving his eponymous theater at The Mirage this summer for parts uncharted. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garth Brooks to play first concert at Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
Country megastar Garth Brooks is the first non-football event announced for the $2 billion, 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Post Malone reveals his face tattoos are due to being 'ugly' - VIDEO
In a new interview with 'GQ,' the 24-year-old admitted his body art is linked to insecurity issues. [The face tattoos do] maybe come from a place of insecurity, to where I don’t like how I look .., Post Malone, via 'GQ'. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 Las Vegas chefs to watch - VIDEO
If you want to know what’s next for dining in Las Vegas, we suggest paying close attention to these five accomplished chefs. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Slanted Door in The Forum Shops at Caesars - VIDEO
The Slanted Door, Charles Phan's James Beard Award-winning modern Vietnamese restaurant, will open a Las Vegas location on March 2. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas REview-Journal)
Buddy V opens PizzaCake at Harrah’s - VIDEO
Buddy Valastro, aka Cake Boss Buddy V, is in town this week overseeing the soft opening of his new restaurant, PizzaCake, in Harrah’s Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making mist-shrouded tuna poke at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas - VIDEO
E.J. Estrella, banquet chef at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas, makes tuna poke by mixing chunks of bigeye tuna with sliced green onions, julienned white onions and house-made poke sauce and serving it on a bed of seaweed salad garnished with lotus chips and suspended over melon-scented mist. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making baked goat cheese at Ri Ra in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Shea Wafford, sous chef and pastry chef at Ri Ra at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas, makes baked goat cheese served with honey-nut pesto, pickled red onions, peppadew relish and sourdough baguette. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bruce Kalman cooking at Ada’s - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Bruce Kalman will be cooking at Ada's in Tivoli Village in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making banana cream pie at Cut in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Nicole Earl, pastry chef at Cut at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, makes an updated banana cream pie by layering banana ice cream, custard and compote with house-made Cool Whip, vanilla wafers and 24-karat gold leaf in a milk chocolate sphere and drizzling it with warm banana-caramel sauce so it devolves into petals. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Chile Colorado at Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas
Javier Chavez, chef/owner of Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas, makes Chile Colorado by braising pork belly with three kinds of peppers and serving it atop stewed black beans with crema and pickled jalapeño, carrots and onions, with flour tortillas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap introduces its vegan CrazyShake - VIDEO
Black Tap at The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip has a new CrazyShake that's vegan -- The Black ’N White CakeShake. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri reflects on the Las Vegas dining scene
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri talks about the Las Vegas food scene while in town celebrating his 52nd birthday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Familiar faces among Circa culinary lineup
Derek Stevens and chefs Barry Dakake and Dan Coughlin talk about some of the new restaurants for Stevens' Circa resort project. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making the Ausser Rand und Band (Over the Top) bloody mary at the Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas
The Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas serves the Ausser Rand und Band bloody mary with Hofbrau Dunkel, vodka, bloody mary mix, a Tajin rim and a soft pretzel, slider, bacon, sausage and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Custom Pizza Truck is a 'kitchen on wheels' - VIDEO
Custom Pizza Truck serves pizzas in a one of a kind food truck that traveled to Poland and back. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @elipagephoto
Squidhat Records comes to an end - VIDEO
Founder Allan Carter explains decision to shutter the Las Vegas label. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kaiseki Yuzu relocates to Chinatown - VIDEO
Kaiseki Yuzu restaurant celebrated its move from Henderson to Chinatown at 3900 Spring Mountain Road on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST