Thursday, May 4, 2017

Dr. Jones I Presume: JACK HUNTER AND THE QUEST FOR AKHENATEN'S TOMB (2008)

Okay, so when we last left Jack Hunter (Ivan Sergei), he had completely failed in his mission to secure one half of the “Eye of the Star of Heaven” and it fell into the hands of his mentor-turned-enemy Littmann (Thure Riefenstein). So to recap part one - Hunter failed on a museum heist, failed to save his boss Professor Schaffer, failed to save his new contact Ali in Syria, and failed on his main mission. Man, this guy has failed so much that he’d be perfect to be President of the United States right now.

Anyway, onto part two - JACK HUNTER AND THE QUEST FOR AKEN… ARKHEN… ARKHAM ASYLUM… AKHENATEN’S TOMB. Okay, Tom, I get it now. I get the unpronounceable entry. Oh wait, I’m typing this. As the show opens, Hunter is kidnapped and taken to a place with a black bag over his head. Turns out this is how the NSA gets people to their headquarters so they don’t know where it is. Is this really necessary? Given Hunter’s aforementioned failures, I’m sure him remembering directions isn’t something they needed to worry about. Anyway, as Tom mentioned previously, meek little Liz (Susan Ward), the professor’s assistant, is actually a take-no-crap NSA government leader. How do the filmmakers establish this? She pulls her hair back tight! And how do we know this is the NSA? Because they are in a room with monitors everywhere and there are lots of white folks typing fast on computers...wait, I’m doing that now...am I NSA?

Liz tells Hunter that Littmann is working for a Russian mafioso named Vladmir Petrovsky (Teoman Kumbaracibasi) and he needs to skedaddle to Egypt to beat him to finding the “Eye of the Star,” the second piece of the relic. Apparently there is an obelisk in Egypt that can help him find it and the best way to provide him cover is to reunite him with Nadia (Joanne Kelly) and Tariq (Mario Bassil). Wait...I can understand bringing back Nadia, who has a history with ancient treasures, but Tariq the taxi cab driver? Uh, okay. Anything to shoehorn in that comedic relief. Once in Egypt, they go to visit archaeologist (and old Hunter flame) Lena Halstorm (Alaina Huffman), Said (Tuncel Kurtiz, looking like the Turkish G. Gordon Liddy) and his assistant Eyhab (Alper Kul). Somehow I think Eyhab might be a traitor. I’m not sure what gave it away...hmmm, maybe this facial hair design?


The obelisk is a long, black foot long pillar with writing on it and Nadia displays her knowledge by saying, “It seems like it was meant to fit into something.” They run some tests (as one astute IMDb user mentioned: “Whilst in the museum, and Jack is examining the obelisk, he asks if it has been carbon dated. Carbon dating is only valid for organic materials - the obelisk is clearly made of stone and could not be carbon dated.” - thank you science nerd Jack Hunter fan) and Jack begins to decipher a location. He then places that location on a current map of Egypt and...hey, didn’t he do the same thing in part one? Before you can say Belloq, Littmann shows up and there is a big shootout. The foursome of Hunter, Nadia, Tariq and Lena escape, but not before the duplicitous Eyhab reports them as having stolen the artifact. Jack and his crew make it to a passenger boat, but a bunch of random baddies catch up and fisticuffs ensue. This allows for a great scene where Tariq subdues a bad guy by showering him with a fire extinguisher and all of the passengers erupt in applause. You know, just like in real life.

Anyway, Jack and crew escape on a little boat and make it up river to the desert they need to be at (apparently Egypt is a really small country). They make it to some cursed ruins where Jack inserts the obelisk (hey, Nadia was right!) and deciphers the next location to head to. This means traveling through the “Valley of Death,” which naturally gives them little problem. The next day they head to the next site and start their journey by - how else - picking up a ride with a random guy. Rule #1 by the writers of this series: If the protagonists are stuck somewhere, there is always some random Arab guy willing to help out. This poor dude gets more than he bargained for as soon his truck is besieged by more random heavies and Jack has to take command for a desert highway chase. Once they make it to town, they fall into the hands of Col. Mustafa (Sinan Tuzcu), a West Point educated military man. He plans to turn them over to the authorities until he finds out about their quest for Akhenaten’s tomb. Naturally, he senses a chance for..wait for it...a promotion! Guess ethics wasn’t a big on the curriculum at West Point. Naturally, under the pressure of a gun and his friends held hostage, Jack leads them the next location but the group soon encounter the Midian soldiers, a group sworn to protect the tomb. After deciphering the location of the tomb, Hunter uses the ensuing chaos to jump off a cliff (perhaps his most Indiana Jones-esque moment of this episode) and go free his friends. But when he arrives at the jail he finds out that punk Littmann and his friends. How did he know they were there? Seems ol’ flame Lena was a turncoat too and proof positive that you can’t trust women with short hair. So, of course, we are headed back to the tomb.


Apologies if the review above sounds a lot like Tom’s first review, but these movies are almost identical in their layout. I say almost because there is one major difference between the two. You see, when they reach the Egyptian tomb at the end here (spoiler alert for anyone who might watch these) they find the sarcophagus empty of any treasure. Yes, you got that right, Hunter not only fails this time, but in the immortal words of Ted White, “You’ll get nothing and like it!” Well, he does get a Roman coin, which, of course, will be his next clue to lead him on his next journey. Yes, this entire journey from beginning to end was done for absolutely nothing. It was literally 90 minutes of misdirection and filler to lead to the concluding part 3. I would have expected more from a production that delivers a wanted poster that looks like this:


Seriously? No height, weight, eye color? Just a name and pic of him in his costume? Very crazy as someone might arrest Harrison Ford. Or at the very least David Keith. And no phone number? What are you supposed to do if you see him? Shout real loud? That said, the producers get a lot of great location work in Turkey (standing in for Egypt) and this might be most action packed entry since we get three shootouts and one car chase. Best of all, the movie never bored me and there were no CGI sandstorm. Oh and Alaina Huffman - looking a bit like Charlize Theron - was hot as hell. Jeez, unpronounceable title aside, I really lucked out with this entry. As a great man once said, “Still, it's better than sitting through INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL (2008) which came out the same year.” Of course, let’s see how that man feels after he watches the third and final part when the producers suddenly run out of money...

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