THE RIFT (1990)? Because of this it's no surprise to find that we completely missed this Indiana Jones inspired mini-series. Now, in our exhaustive search for cinematic relics, we don our fedoras and whip out this trilogy.
In a private French museum, a thief in a balaclava and sunglasses (!?) sneaks in and attempts to take a picture of a large cuneiform tablet, but ends up just stealing the damn thing after bumbling that whole "sneaking" thing.
Of course we find out that the thief is Jack Hunter (Ivan Sergei) who is a way too young and way too beardless (no, the stubble thing doesn't count) to be an anthropologist, which I guess is why he was stealing antiquities instead of digging them up. Hunter, back in Los Angeles, takes the tablet to his friend and mentor Professor Schaffer (Sean Lawlor) who needs to switch to decaff and has spent his entire career trying to discover the hiding place of a mythical staff that could be used as a powerful weapon. Never mind the the ancient Syrian civilization was in reality pillaged and burned to the ground by foreign raiders, which begs the question, why didn't they just use their super-staff of badassery to blow up all of the ships before they even landed? Yeah, never mind that, Schaffer is convinced that it is hidden somewhere in the ruins and gets royally pissed off when Jack says that he's going on a trip to Florida and doesn't want to go find something that doesn't exist. That night Schaffer is murdered while deciphering the tablet and creating a map, of course this means one thing! Jack isn't going to Florida.
Jack Hunter's first of three adventures doesn't even try to offer anything remotely original, but at the same time it is pretty benign for a modern TV movie. Honestly, considering the source, it should definitely hurt more, but it doesn't (completely) insult the audience's intelligence. If I was a 10 year old kid who never saw any of the Indy movies, I'd think it was mindblowing. Since I'm not a 10 year old kid and I have seen way too many Indy movies legit and rip-offs, it's kind of mildly entertaining. Still, it's better than sitting through INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008) which came out the same year. It's like the producers knew that the world needed an Indy fix and whatever they came up with would be better than the real thing.