Jack Hunter and the Quest for Akhenaten’s Tomb
For those of you just joining us, this week Jumping Sharks introduced the first in an occasional feature, Miniseries Week. The first entry can be found here, in case you missed it.
The good guys – Tariq, Jack, Nadia, Lena (l to r, left pic).
When we left Jack Hunter (Ivan Sergei) and Nadia Ramadan (Joanne Kelly), the evil bearded German archaeologist Albert Littmann (Thure Riefenstein) had beaten them to the legendary treasure of Ugarit and absconded with a staff of unnatural power. The second part in the miniseries starts off with an excavation in Giza, led by Lena Halstrom (Alaina Huffman, SGU Stargate Universe, Painkiller Jane), finding an ancient obelisk with Ugaritic markings on it. She brings in Jack to help decipher what the writing says, not knowing that Jack has already been recruited by the National Security Agency to track down the staff and another artifact that goes with it. The obelisk leads them on a treasure hunt to find Akhenaten’s tomb, and has them run afoul of the Russian mob (who are backing Albert), a colonel in the Egyptian army (who wants to use the discovery of Akhenaten’s tomb to get promoted), and a gang of bandits whose leader claims to be a descendent of Akhenaten and therefore the rightful heir of the treasure. As the three groups periodically encounter each other, hilarity ensues.
The bad guys – Albert Littmann (top left); Egyptian army colonel (top right); leader of secret society (bottom)
First, I’d like to bring up this little adventure movie trope – whenever these movies have ancient artifacts/secrets/locations of legendary importance, why do they always – always – have secret societies guarding them? Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? Secret society. The Mummy? Secret society. The Da Vinci Code? Hell, that whole movie is about a secret society. I get that these things need to have bad guys, and that secret societies are easy enough to explain without going into a lot of detail; but when Jack Hunter already has the Russian mob and the Egyptian army after him, does he really need to have a secret society chasing him, too?
Second, we have a return of the “that guy has a bad-guy beard, he must be a bad guy” issue, this time on an Egyptian. So now we have a German with a bad-guy beard and an Egyptian with a very similar beard, both trying to use our hero to find the treasure so they can take it for themselves. You’d think one of them might have a scar or an eye patch or something…
Maybe they’re both members of the same secret beard society…
Three more points – they have a scene wherein a car gets hit by a truck, and of course, the men in the car race out of it, getting out and away just before it explodes. In a big ball of fire. When where was no fire present after the crash. I’m not gonna say it’s impossible (I’ll let this website do that instead), but seeing completely unrealistic car crashes in every action movie ever is getting kinda old. Next, there’s a scene where our hero uses a gunfight between the Egyptian army and the secret society to escape, but the only way out is by jumping into a lake. Here’s the thing – he has a book on him with all of his notes about the Ugarit treasure that he’s tracking. Obviously, in a choice of his life or the book, I’d expect him to choose his life; what I wouldn’t expect is for the book to show absolutely no signs of damage later on in the episode, despite lacking any special protective covering and being carried in a satchel (not even a backpack). Again, not entirely impossible, I suppose, but certainly extremely improbable. Finally, our villain (the German one, not the other two) is led to a site he believes to be the tomb, but doesn’t find what he’s looking for and gives up to go search elsewhere. But before he goes, he has his men seal Jack, Nadia and Jar Jar – I’m sorry; Tariq – in the tomb. This is the same man who, in the first part of the miniseries, has a whole excavation team killed because they knew too much, but now he’s showing compassion and making the classic bad-guy mistake of locking the heroes inside? I get that dehydration is a much crueler way to kill someone, but isn’t shooting them the safest way to do so? Oh Bond villains, how misled you’ve made modern bad-guys…
Top left – a car blowing up completely realistically; top right – our villain about to give up; bottom – what happens after he does
And while this episode did leave out the unnecessary Indiana Jones references, it included two unnecessary gangster movie references. So that’s a plus? Kinda? Maybe?… Anyways, stay tuned for the final installment of the adventures of Jack Hunter here on Jumping Sharks.