Jack Hunter [2008-2009] (mini-series)

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Jack Hunter and the: Lost Treasure of Ugarit, Quest for Akhenaten’s Tomb, and Star of Heaven comprised a mini-series that ran as three made-for-TV movies in 2008-2009.  They were a pleasant surprise in what many believe has become a reality TV wasteland.

"I'm Jack Hunter.  I've got rugged good looks.  Oh, and the hat.  Chicks dig the hat."

“Hi.  I’m Jack Hunter. I’ve got rugged good looks. Oh, and the hat. Chicks dig the hat.”

"...But I am more than a pretty face.  I'm smart.  Check out this pose I worked on for hours in the mirror."

“…But I am more than a pretty face. I’m smart. Check out this pose I practiced for hours.”

The series was an outright homage to the Indiana Jones format, but certainly not the only one.  If you ever enjoyed these other rip-offs -

  1. King Solomon’s Mines
  2. High Road to China
  3. Bring ‘em Back Alive
  4. Tales of the Gold Monkey
  5. Relic Hunter
  6. the Lara Croft movies
  7. the National Treasure movies
  8. The Librarian series
  9. or even Treasure of the Four Crowns (in 3D!)

- then chances are you will enjoy Jack Hunter.

"Hello, I am Nadia; a hard-nosed, no-nonsense, cool-tempered Syrian archeologist.  I meet Jack in the first film.

“Hello, I’m Nadia.  I meet Jack in the first film.  I’m a hard-nosed, no-nonsense, cool-tempered Syrian archeologist.  …Okay, but is this pose really any more contrived than Jack’s ‘think pose’?”

"Alright darn it! I get feelings for Jack. But who doesn't in this series?"

“Alright darn it! I get feelings for Jack. But who doesn’t in this series?  Isn’t he dreamy?”

Let us enlighten with our one-sentence synopsis:  Brilliant and ruggedly handsome archeologist turned adventurer Jack Hunter must avenge the murder of his mentor and finish his work to find two ancient and legendarily powerful items while along the way meeting a pretty Syrian archeologist, an old flame, and scores of bad guys, corrupt officials, mobsters, murderers and the greatest danger of them all, love.

"I am Littmann, self described 'bad guy'.  Do not blame me.  All the blonds in this series are bad.  But it's really about the money."

“I am Littmann, self described ‘bad guy’. Do not blame me. All the blonds in this series are bad. But it’s really about the money.”

Dude, are you really holding a high-powered sniper rifle like that?  You shoot like a (untrained) girl.

Dude, are you really shooting a high-powered sniper rifle like that?  You shoot like a (untrained) girl.

Jack Hunter is not some small series.  They clearly had a budget and used every penny of it.  You will certainly get the all important “sense of travel” – a key ingredient for an adventure.  The locations the producers found were fresh and interesting.

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It is easy to get a little romantic in this peaceful spot.

It is easy to get a little romantic in this peaceful and scenic location.

There was plenty of action – fist fights, gunfights, and car chases – and plenty of special effects to help sell them.  Some of the special effects were more subtle and likely a money saving/story enhancing feature, which is fine if done well.

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In this budget busting scene, Jack uses the first artifact like a "death hose".

In this budget busting scene, Jack uses the first artifact like a “death hose”.

Yup.  It pretty much atomizes whoever it hits.  Sorry nameless goons.

Yup. It pretty much atomizes whoever it hits. Sorry nameless goons.

The bad guy’s roster becomes a real crowded rogue’s gallery.  From annoyances like duplicitous NSA agents and rent-a-cops, to murderous archeological rivals, ancient cults, ancient sects, and even good old Russian mobsters.  It is enough to make you consider a safer career, like bomb squad technician.

"Call me Lena.  Like most archeologists, I'm fabulously good looking -- huh?  The blond hair?  Oh crud, I'm dead."

“Call me Lena. Like most archeologists, I’m fabulously good looking.  I’m Jack’s old flame you meet in the second movie — huh? The blond hair? Oh crud, I’m dead.”

Jack's suitors.  Hmmm, which of these two is eeeeeville?

Jack’s suitors. Hmmm, which of these two is eeeeeville?

Jack Hunter was ambitious but did not overreach (much).  From the stylish opening credits to the well composed music you’ll experience a bit of the exotic, and probably feel like spitting sand out of your mouth after yet another trek through the hot desert on foot.

"Oh not again!  What is this, like the 4th desert walk in two movies!  Why don't we ever bring any water!"

“Oh not again! What is this, like the 4th desert walk in two movies! Why don’t we ever bring any water!  Why are we following you?  Darn those rugged good looks!”

goofball stereotypical comic releif whose antics save the day more than once and who   comes up with that sage advice when you least expect it.  (We can arugue how "sage" the   advoce to go for the girl was another time.)

Tariq was the stereotypical goofball comic relief whose antics save the day more than once and who comes up with sage advice when you least expect it. (We can argue how “sage” the advice to “go for the girl” was another time.)

Everybody, except the authorities, liked Jack.  Every major female in the series was or had been attracted to him.  Even the major bad guy would rather work with him than kill him.

"Can you blame them?  Have I mentioned my rugged good looks?"

“Can you blame them? Have I mentioned my rugged good looks?”

The artifacts themselves turn out to be powerful weapons indeed.  Although at the final climax when the second is combined with the first, we were led to expect a little — well, more.  Something beyond just a more powerful version of the original.  Still it did the job – against incompetents.

You're messing with forces you don't understand.  "I'm invincible!"

“I’m invincible!”  If you will pardon the cliche, ‘You’re messing with forces you don’t understand.’

It is a good bet that when a final showdown occurs in a gravel pit or abandoned quarry you will be looking at some serious fireworks.

It is a good bet that when a final showdown occurs in a gravel pit or abandoned quarry you will be looking at some serious fireworks.

Take Liz for example, she oversaw a terribly easy and yet completely botched snatch-and-grab operation.  A covert ops team thwarted by hired goons with handguns.  Then she proceeded to get an entire field platoon annihilated with great commands like. “Kill [that guy] at all costs!”  The cost was all your men dipstick, and the guy was not killed by them.

im liz

“I’m Liz, the first love interest in this series (and that is saying something considering the rate at which women are throwing themselves at Jack).  Look how cute and perky I am.  But I am hiding a dangerous secret…”

the eod

Yowza, what a transformation.  Liz turns out to be a ruthless (and somewhat incompetent) NSA team leader–  and a nag!  Man, the NSA is really lowering its standards these days.

at keast

At least she is a crack shot with a sniper rifle.  (Better looking at it than Littmann), but her poor tactical orders afterward see to the death of her entire detachment.  Nice job  *%$#@!

The first movie takes you through the arid Syrian desert, the second through the dry wastes of Egypt, and the third the barren backside of Turkey.  Yes, it is a middle east tour with the occasional stop at a European Villa, coffee-shop, or NSA command center.

napalm

Why do bad guys always use old refineries, combustible chemical factories, and other volatile places for their lairs?  Here we see Jack, Tariq, and Nadia’s stunt doubles racing out of the exploding abandoned napalm factory.

cumuppance

Wow.  Well done.  This is comeuppance.  Please, entertainment writers of all sorts, take note.

They nursed the romance nicely between all the sweat and dehydration, although we expected more at the end.  Will their bond last or must Jack stay a free adventurer with no strings?

but jack what about 'us'? see you in the sequel, Jack Hunter and the grecian vacation.

“But Jack what about ‘us’?”  “I’ll see you in the sequel, ‘Jack Hunter and the Grecian Vacation’  – if ya’ know what I mean.  Heh.”

While we may poke fun at Jack Hunter it was a lot of fun. Free entertainment broadcast to your couch (or Fortress) and worth watching.

Addendum:

Do you want people to watch your TV mini-series?  Get Optimus Prime to do voice over work for your promo!

If you like Jack Hunter,

you might enjoy checking out our take on

The Librarian Movie-Series