Amazon Prime Mini-Review – Hunters: Nazi Punks F*ck Off

Amazon gives us a dark story of the people who try to thwart the rise of the American Reich.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman) is a math prodigy and a drug dealer who witnesses his grandmother (Jeannie Berlin) being murdered one night. It turns out that she was a member of the Hunters, a group of Nazi-killers led by Meyer Offerman (Al “Please Forget I Was In Jack and Jill” Pacino), a holocaust survivor. Meyer and the other Hunters reveal that there are a number of Nazis who escaped after the fall of the Third Reich and made their way to America where they have acquired positions of power and are conspiring to create a Fourth Reich under the Colonel (Lena Olin). 

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Pacino’s still recovering from getting the Oscar for Scent of a Woman

END SUMMARY

So, Nazis suck. I’m told this is a political position nowadays, but my grandfather thought they sucked enough that he got a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star fighting them, so I’m going to stand by my position. Any further discussion on this post is going to contain anti-Nazi opinions. If that bothers you, well, go f*ck yourself, Snowflake. 

This show is pretty dark, mostly because it frequently, by necessity, addresses the horrors of the Holocaust and the treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis. People are frequently shown being murdered, tortured, humiliated, and worse, all because of the beliefs of the Third Reich. Moreover, it is shown that America is more willing to tolerate those same beliefs than we would like to admit, as long as they’re couched in something a little more subtle. While the show doesn’t go full-on into the relationship between American racism and the Third Reich, it does make it clear that the Hunters only do this because they are sure that the actual authorities won’t. 

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The fact that they’re a diverse group probably ensures the authorities don’t trust them.

However, weirdly, the show actually doesn’t go as heavy into the disgusting behavior of the Third Reich as you might want. Instead, it comes up with comic-book-esque supervillainy that, while not less horrible than some of the things that the Nazis DID do, come off as somewhat ridiculous and almost farcical. I understand why the Auschwitz Memorial didn’t appreciate some of the sequences, because there really isn’t any point in doing inaccurate portrayals of the Holocaust when an accurate one would do the job better. I mean, you have some of the worst monsters in world history, you don’t have to give them weirder kinks just for watchability.

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The chess sequence is particularly insane. 

That’s sort of where the show fails: It just keeps trying to give us some more enjoyable and familiar scenes at the cost of a consistent or grounded narrative. There are a lot of stylized cut-aways similar to the ones in Inglourious Basterds or Kill Bill or… well, a lot of Tarantino films, as well as many modern superhero movies, which kind of undercut the very grave nature of the subject matter. I mean, I don’t want to see Josh Radnor doing a fake PSA in character right after I’ve watched a realistic story about Auschwitz. 

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Also, action nun is a weird thing to put in this series. 

Despite that, the show still kind of works because of the performances. While Pacino’s accent may be a bit much, he’s still Al Pacino and, when the moment calls for it, even he remembers that he can be a subtle and convincing actor. Logan Lerman delivers an amazing performance as well, really holding the story together. Dylan Baker is excellent as one of the undercover Nazis, hamming it up in a surreal way that does actually perfectly match the tone of the series. 

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He’s wearing an apron during his first murder. 

It also helps that, since the bad guys are Nazis, you never really feel bad about what happens to them. The Hunters tend to work on a love of ironic punishments, making Nazis suffer what they did to the Jews, but there’s not a ton of moral ambiguity even when they’re being seemingly cruel. It also helps that the action sequences and the cutaways are really entertaining, even if they’re a bit jarring at times.

Overall, I did like the show. It’s not really as unique as I was hoping, but it was enjoyable. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Prime Review – The Tick: Seasons 1 and 2 (Spoiler-Free for Season 2)

Probably the most beloved superhero spoof of all time got his second (Patrick Warburton’s was short lived) live-action adaptation and it is filled with the sweet stench of mighty blue justice.

SUMMARY

Arthur Everest (Griffin Newman) is a mild-mannered accountant… except that he’s not particularly mild-mannered, more neurotic and borderline PTSD. When he was young, his father was killed by the world’s greatest supervillain The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), who then singled him out for torment before eventually being apparently killed by the world’s mightiest superhero, Superian (Brendan Hines). Arthur believes the Terror is still alive and sets out to prove it, before running into a giant blue man known only as The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz). The Tick is amnesiac, super-strong, nigh-invulnerable, overly-dramatic, and pretty much insane, but with a good heart and a desire for justice. The Tick gifts Arthur with an experimental flying suit he found in a warehouse and, after some initial complications, Arthur agrees to become his sidekick. Together, the two dive into the world of superheroes and supervillains, encountering the villainous Miss Lint (Yara Martinez), the violent anti-hero Overkill (Scott Speiser) and his sidekick Dangerboat (Alan “I’m amazing” Tudyk), Arthur’s sister Dot (Valorie Curry), and culminating in them gaining fame for helping defeat the still-alive Terror.

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He is very abdominal in this episode.

The second season focuses on the Tick and Arthur dealing with the return of the government agency A.E.G.I.S., the best S.H.I.E.L.D. knock-off on film so far, and trying to find their place in the new order.

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He also does the funniest costume change on film.

END SUMMARY

This show is one of the few Amazon Prime shows that were picked up based on their pilot and I don’t think I can tell you how happy that made me. It makes me even happier to say that they really fixed some of the problems that were present in the pilot almost immediately. See, the pilot’s core joke was basically “what if we stuck The Tick in a gritty reboot, but we didn’t make the Tick gritty or serious?” Admittedly, that premise was funny and every second The Tick was on film was amazing, particularly him dealing with realistic criminals in his goofy manner. The only problem was that the world itself was just a hair TOO gritty. One of the best parts of every version of The Tick is the other goofy characters that populate it. The show quickly managed to fill that void with a bunch of great supporting characters, many of whom are comical exaggerations of the “gritty” superhero image, particularly Overkill.

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He has to talk in a deep, gravely voice or his Alexa doesn’t recognize him.

The first season was flat-out hilarious to me once it found its rhythm, although it did take a few episodes to really get it. Griffin Newman and Valorie Curry both subtly adjusted their characters to fit a little better within the post-pilot world the show was developing. Arthur became more similar to his animated counterpart, though with a lot more realism and backstory, while Dot became a badass. Jackie Earle Haley, on the other hand, played the perfect self-indulgent villain from start to finish. I think few things will ever stick with me as well as his line “You don’t kill people because they call you names; you kill them because it’s fun.” It’s literally the most evil but also surprisingly reasonable thing you can say: Evil should be about enjoyment whether it’s at the expense of others or not. After all, why be evil if it’s not fun?

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He literally stops in the middle of a mass murder to harass a child. For fun.

I will say that there are two things in the pilot which did convince me that the show had a lot of potential. The first is the scene of The Tick effortlessly defeating a bunch of warehouse thugs while using his typical goofy dialogue. Second, at the end of the episode, The Tick is monologuing about his future with Arthur as superheroes and says “Destiny’s got her hand way up in their puppets.” That’s basically the perfect line for The Tick’s very specific brand of insanity and spoofing.

Tick2 - 5Destiny
Even the hero poses are perfectly exaggerated. 

The Second Season has the advantage of being able to introduce more of the bizarre and goofy characters that we were looking for because the world has now been expanded enough for someone to just randomly appear with superpowers. They also having a running plotline about coercion that plays out very well.

Overall, I love this show. It’s just a solid spoof of superheroes, particularly gritty reboots. Peter Serafinowicz is a treasure and is just as good in the role as Patrick Warburton was (though that show’s writing was nowhere near the level of this one, Warburton was amazing). If you’ve got a Prime subscription and love comedy, just power through the first 2-3 episodes and then get ready for a great time.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.