Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is far from stunning.
Ricardo Montalban's Khan reminds me of shock rocker Alice Cooper. His henchmen looked like they just walked off a California beach. Would they look that good after spending 15 years on a barren planet? His goons don't look terribly threatening.
Why didn't Khan and his old nemesis Admiral James Kirk (William Shatner) square off man-to-man rather than exchanging jabs over video screens? If Khan is so smart, why does he keep getting outwitted by Kirk? Questions like this bug me as a viewer.
There's lots of references to death, duty and new life in this second film based on the iconic television series from the 1960s. Khan appeared in one episode, Space Seed, broadcast in 1967.
Admiral James Kirk (William Shatner) is choosing not to celebrate his birthday. He feels old, and without a spaceship to command, somewhat useless. He has to wear glasses. Glasses make him feel old. Oh, brother.
Opportunity knocks during an inspection of his old ship, Enterprise. His trusted colleagues are on board - Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Bones (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) with Chekov (Walter Koenig) not far away.
Enterprise is called into service to check up on a space station doing research on Genesis. Want to create a planet pronto where no life exists? Genesis is your answer. Research is being headed up by Kirk's old flame Carol (Bibi Besch) and their son, David (Merritt Butrick). David is convinced Starfleet Command wants control of Genesis for military purposes. Khan's interested too.
Khan gets himself out of exile and zeroes in on Genesis. Kirk and his posse have to stop Khan.
Death is continually present in this film. Many of Enterprise's most veteran hands appear to die early on. A training simulation involves a distress call and failing life support systems. A cadet is praised for not abandoning his post and dying in service of Starfleet. Oh, and Khan wants Kirk dead - even when he has Genesis for himself. Khan, you old coot. Take Genesis and run.
Some of the film's cracks are quite funny, but the late Butrick is mostly weak. There's some rapport, but not much contact between Carol and Kirk.
What was that talk about the even numbers in this series being the better films? I'm not so sure.
FUN FACTS: Ike Eisenmann, who appears as Cadet Preston, appeared as a party guest in John Hughes' Some Kind of Wonderful.
Star Trek II marks Kirstie Alley's film debut.
Paul Winfield was the voice of Lucius Sweet in two episodes of The Simpsons.
Labels: bibi besch, deforest kelley, george takei, ike eisenmann, james doohan, kirstie alley, leonard nimoy, merritt butrick, nichelle nichols, paul winfield, ricardo montalban, walter koenig, william shatner
Reel Popcorn Junkie is a reporter with a newspaper in the province of Ontario in Canada. He began writing film reviews when he was a student at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. Reel Popcorn Junkie continues to write entertainment copy for a daily newspaper, but not film reviews. Reel Popcorn Junkie always orders a regular popcorn, with no butter, when he attends the cinema.