This is it: one of the greatest Science Fiction films ever made. I’m dead serious; one doesn’t need to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy this film, and that’s the highest compliment I can give it. This is a tense submarine chase film set in space, and that’s why it works: It doesn’t have to be Star Trek.
The plot concerns one superhuman named Khan Noonian Singh who, along with several of his breed, was originally in cryosleep and picked up by one Captain James T. Kirk (in one of the original series episodes entitled “Space Seed”). Once on board the Enterprise, he wasted no time in trying to take over the ship. Needless to say, Kirk wasn’t impressed, and left his ass on an empty planet to start his own colony. As “The Wrath of Khan” opens some 20 years later, Khan is pissed. And he sees an opportunity for vengeance.
The film, as I’ve already made clear, is marvelous, rollicking fun. Yes, I said rollicking – because, as in a seafaring adventure, this film has it all. Even the soundtrack has nautical themes running through it. Just watching two starships play cat-and-mouse as they orbit around a planet is worth the price of admission.
But that’s not all the film has to offer; the acting is stellar, the plot tight and exciting, and the effects well done. There are even a couple of pretty big “Woah!” moments here, and even grown men will weep at least once.
“The Wrath of Khan” is also the start of a three film trilogy within the movie series (ending with “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”). They can be watched back-to-back and, while the next film dips a bit in terms of quality, the final chapter is considered to be the best Trek film, second only to “… Khan”.
If you’re a fan of Star Trek, the likelihood is that you’ve already seen this and, if you’re not a fan, then this is the place to start. “The Wrath of Khan” is “The Empire Strikes Back” of the Star Trek cannon.
Pros: It’s all good, baby.
Cons: Can’t you read? It’s all good, baby.
Review Rating: 5 out of 5 needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.
“Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982)
113 Minutes; USA
Rated PG for sci-fi action violence and mild language.
William Shatner (Admiral/Captain James T. Kirk)
Leonard Nimoy (Captain Spock)
DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy)
Ricardo Montalban (Khan Noonian Singh)
James Doohan (Captain Montgomery “Scotty” Scott)
George Takei (Commander Hikaru Sulu)
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
Written by: Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer, based on a story by Harve Bennett, Jack B. Sowards, and Samuel A. Peeples (uncredited).
Viewing Format: VHS.