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William Shatner
Leonard Nimoy
DeForest Kelley
Ricardo Montalban.
Nicholas Meyer.
Gene Roddenberry
Harve Bennet
Jack B Sowards.
Running Time
108 minutes

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Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan
Horrendous hairdos abound

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It is the twenty-third century. Admiral James T. Kirk is feeling old; the prospect of accompanying his old ship the Enterprise - now a Starfleet Academy training ship - on a two-week cadet cruise is not making him feel any younger. But the training cruise becomes a deadly serious mission when Khan appears after years of exile - and holding the power of creation itself...

Although the slow, gabby, and, frankly, rather insipid Star Trek: The Motion Picture did the business, it was pretty lame to all but the most dedicated, particularly coming two years in the wake of Star Wars.

Nicholas Meyer, a successful novelist (The Seven-Per-Cent Solution) turned able director, understood that the interplay between the characters, back on familiar footing, was as important as the impressive FX. A sequel 15 years on to the classic Trek TV episode Space Seed, the very enjoyable hokum of Wrath Of Khan is energised by the return of a fabulous Ricardo Montalban as the exiled, genetically enhanced tyrant Khan, once ruler of an empire on Earth (round about now, actually) who was originally encountered in suspended animation on the vessel Botany Bay and revived in the 23rd Century.

Having escaped the dead planet where he's been stranded, with his mitts on a starship, a cutthroat band of followers and an all-consuming obsession with exacting terrible revenge on the U.S.S. Enterprise gang — chiefly, of course, former captain James T. Kirk (Shatner). Khan is exactly what's required for camp piratical space fun — a formidable foe who is charismatic, brainy, and ruthlessly fanatical. The necessity for a showdown takes on save-the-universe urgency when Khan snatches up a highly desirable gizmo — the Genesis Device, which reorganises energy into living matter — containing the power of creation or mass destruction. The Genesis Device is well named since it provokes dialogue that, in 1982, would have struck anyone with no taste for speculative science fiction as wincingly pretentious. Today it seems more apt as Kirk and cronies debate the potential for and consequences of science second-guessing God. The real heart of the story is, however, almost unique in the annals of screen sci-fi. It's about getting old.

The most elegiac of the big screen Treks, the adventure celebrates comradeship above all the other fundamentals and imperatives of the Trek ethos (like courage, curiosity and cultural imperialism). And it's a tale told with considerable warmth and humour, some spiffing explosions and a multiple-hanky act of self-sacrifice to round things off. At the beginning the once irrepressible Kirk's birthday (which one it is we aren't told, but the big five-o seems likely) brings on morose reflection. The former intergalactic babehound says "Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young," considers the paths not taken (unaware that an old flame and his hitherto unknown, full grown son are about to be sprung on him) and is passively resigned to an assignment commanding a computer console in place of his "first, best destiny" — command of a starship.

Spock (Nimoy) gives him an ancient copy of A Tale Of Two Cities. Bones (Kelley) gives him a pair of antique spectacles for his middle-age myopia, so he can read it, which comes in handy when he misquotes Sydney Carton in the eventual denouement. A simple training cruise for Starfleet cadets (including a debuting Kirstie Alley as Vulcan smarty-pants Saavik) is tiresomely routine and seems set to be Kirk's last mission. Then Khan rears his vengeful head — yippee! — forcing Kirk to boldly go once more.

The point is, he learns, there are still big challenges: "I haven't faced death. I've cheated death. I've tricked my way out of death, and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing." That understood, the adventure of life goes on, age, a crazed villain and a warp drive engine on the blink be damned. As is the case in the best of the classic Trek screen adventures (let's hear it for IV and VI, both co-written by Meyer) Jack B. Soward's script is witty and literate, the crew are on top self-mocking form and there are neat references to Dickens and Melville. But Wrath Of Khan is capped by a daring shocker: killing a beloved character (or at least so fans believed until Star Trek III) to press home such weighty Trekian sentiments as "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

What haven't worn as well are the disastrous fashion statements: striped bell-bottom uniform trews tucked into boots and those absurd Santa Claus tunics. And then, of course, there's the trademark dodgy coiffures. Still, it's a far, far better thing they do than they have ever done when they can save civilisation as we know it even on a bad hair day.

It was Star Trek II that put the franchise on the right track as the spirit of Gene Roddenberry's 60s television series was harnessed to spectacular effect.

Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Average user rating for Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan
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RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

Well I had to go back and rewatch that scene a few times to get my head around it ... More

Posted by Phubbs at 05:01, 30 June 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

L: Phubbs I gotta give it to the creative teams behind the film, it was damn brave going ahead with this plot that's for sure. If you look at the facts here...the plot follows on from an episode which was in the old original TV series back in the mid 60's. So already you are possibly excluding most of your target audience as I'm sure many had not seen this episode and possibly not allot of the original series (of course many would have). So technically unless you had seen that episode ... More

Posted by Darth Marenghi at 19:16, 29 June 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

One of my favourite films. But,for someone who is regarded as a highly inteligent being, Ricardo's Moltalbans Khan does act rationally dumb on occasions. ... More

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 18:55, 29 June 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

My 2nd favourite film of all time and the best Star Trek film to date. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by NCC1701A at 18:26, 29 June 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

L: Spaldron Best Trek film ever made. sm=happy34.gif] ... More

Posted by Dirk Miggler at 17:41, 29 June 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

Best Trek film ever made. ... More

Posted by Spaldron at 16:46, 29 June 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

L: directorscut TMP made more money at the box office. But this only cost 1/3 the amount TMP did - and it shows. Meyer's direction is nowhere near as cinematic as Wise's. And Horner's score is like Wayne Rooney's hair compared to Andrea Pirlo's. rilliant! ... More

Posted by The Hooded Man at 16:39, 29 June 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

TMP made more money at the box office. But this only cost 1/3 the amount TMP did - and it shows. Meyer's direction is nowhere near as cinematic as Wise's. And Horner's score compared to Goldsmith's is like Wayne Rooney's hair compared to Andrea Pirlo's. ... More

Posted by directorscut at 16:38, 29 June 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

I love TWOK but many fans say this is the point where the Star Trek film franchise just became an extension of the TV series with effects and stories that felt like two part episodes welded together rather than genuine films. ... More

Posted by The Hooded Man at 16:28, 29 June 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) I never did understand how this film was so much more successful and popular than the first. Quite clearly the film has gone for a slightly more silly plot losing allot of the straight laced sci-fi from the first. I suppose you could say they lost the aspiring '2001' type sequences and went back to the more well known cardboard effects of Star Trek, shame. Now I realise the slow building straight faced Star Trek we got in the first film was frown... More

Posted by Phubbs at 16:19, 29 June 2012 | Report This Post

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Review

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan features a strong plot, increased tension, and a sharp supporting performance from Ricardo Montalban and it was this that kicked of this franchise. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 14:37, 19 December 2011 | Report This Post

It was ok...

And that is in no way a slight on the movie, it's just it had been hyped up by every review I'd read that when I sat down to watch it I was dissapointed. Not because it was a bad movie, it wasn't a bad just wasn't the great movie people had painted it to be. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 21:15, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan

Awesome Film and still reigns supreme as the ultimate Star Trek film.   First cotnact a close second. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shool at 14:57, 03 September 2007 | Report This Post

I felt the welling of moistness...

...I mean, I nearly wept. I'm not sure how the Spock death scene was for non-StartTrek fans but for me I was so bloody moved and declared it the greatest piece of acting (from both Nimoy and Shatner) ever! I may be a bit deluded mind. A very different beast from the first film but also a 4-starrer. Certainly truer to the TV series and emotionally very accomplished. ... More

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Posted by dhollseed at 02:39, 18 August 2007 | Report This Post

RE: khaaaaaaan!!!!!

i too viewed this film on channel four, its quite a guilty pleasure but still a pretty decent film. I do prefer First contact though. ... More

Posted by amateur ghostbuster at 10:33, 11 December 2006 | Report This Post


i am watching this right now on channel 4, and to be honest i love this movie. i dont like any of the other star trek movies but for some reason this holds a place in my heart as a truely great movie, yes its cheesey yes its camp, but that doesn't matter because the acting is spot on and it has endlessly quoteable lines. "bottany bay", not to mention the brilliant william shatner, forget patrick stewart shatner is the only real captain of the enterprise. this is ten times better than s... More

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Posted by thearchitect at 16:39, 09 December 2006 | Report This Post

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