Sheldon Kirshner
Sheldon Kirshner

Israeli Actor Lior Raz Stars In Hit & Run

Lior Raz, the actor who played the Israeli army commando Doron Kavillio in Fauda, reinvents himself credibly in Netflix’s new nine-part series, Hit & Run, which unfolds in Israel and the United States.

He portrays Segev Azulai, an Israeli tour guide whose second wife, Danielle Wexler (Kaelen Ohm), is killed in a hit and run accident in the first of nine episodes. Danielle, an American dancer, constantly reappears in flashbacks as Segev reaches the unmistakable conclusion that she was murdered. His decision to find her killer and exact justice is what propels Hit & Run forward.

Burly, unshaven, taciturn and generally monosylabic, Segev is a man obsessed. He will not rest until the truth emerges. To unearth it, he travels to New York City, where he meets friends, encounters foes, dodges assassination attempts, and dispatches enemies.

Segev, you see, is not only a tour guide, but an ex-commando who possesses all the requisite martial arts skills necessary to disarm or kill an adversary. In this sense, he resembles Doron Kavillio, whose mission is to eliminate Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In Hit & Run, however, the enemy is far more elusive and, perhaps, unknowable.

Initially, Segev suspects that the killer is a notorious Israeli gangster. As he digs deeper, he learns that Danielle had an affair with Assaf Talmor (Lior Ashkenazi), an Israeli intelligence agent, before she met him. Shortly after this revelation, an intruder attacks Segev in his home.

With the intrigue building, Segev latches on to a theory that the murderer may have been an Hungarian. A bomb explosion that shakes up Segev further arouses his suspicion that Danielle’s death was definitely not accidental and may well have been caused by his nemesis, Isaac (Michael Aronov), an arms dealer living in New York City. In the past, he and Isaac trained Mexican troops to fight the drug cartels, but due to unexplained circumstances, Isaac was arrested and spent nine years in prison, blaming Segev for his incarceration.

Arriving in New York, Segev meets his old friend, Ron (Gal Toren), a street-wise, shady character who sets up a meeting for him with Danielle’s parents and leads him to Isaac, who maintains his innocence.

Hit & Run is uniformly filmed in dark and somber tones, a popular style of cinematography today. It may be fine in locales where the sun rarely shines, but in Israel it appears artificial and unreal. The bright skies of Israel have been totally obscured, sucking the energy and vitality out of the country. New York City, too, is devoid of sunlight. All too often, annoyingly enough, the faces of the characters nearly blend in with the darkness.

Yet the darker hues align with the murky nature of the plot, which grows increasingly convoluted. Segev’s investigations force him to cast doubt Danielle’s supposed biography. Much to Segev’s astonishment, bewilderment and disappointment, he discovers that Danielle was not her real name and that she worked in a very different profession.

Ron urges him to return to Israel, if only for the sake of his teenaged daughter from a previous marriage, but Segev is determined to hold the killer accountable. In his quest to uncover the truth, Segev is assisted by his cousin Tali (Moran Rosenblatt), an Israeli detective, and by his former lover, Naomi (Sanaa Latham), an African-American Jewish journalist who’s writing a potentially explosive article about Israel’s security relations with the United States.

Assaf’s world, meanwhile, implodes when his wife finds out about his affair with Danielle, and when his loyalty to the state is questioned by his employer.

More violence ensues as Segev avenges the murder of one of his friends.

The cast, led by Raz, acquits itself commendably, but some of the characters and situations are less than compelling and could have easily been cut out of the script. Still, Hit & Run is sufficiently suspenseful to warrant yet another season.

About the Author
Sheldon Kirshner is a journalist in Toronto. He writes at his online journal, SheldonKirshner.com
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