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.
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 –
- King Solomon’s Mines
- High Road to China
- Bring ’em Back Alive
- Tales of the Gold Monkey
- Relic Hunter
- the Lara Croft movies
- the National Treasure movies
- The Librarian series
- or even Treasure of the Four Crowns (in 3D!)
– then chances are you will enjoy Jack Hunter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Do you want people to watch your TV mini-series? Get Optimus Prime to do voice over work for your promo!