Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Let’s just go out on a limb here and say that, in an otherwise mediocre spin-off movie series from a TV show that is way too fondly remembered by sci-fi geeks with way too much time on their hands, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is the best of the batch. And the best thing about this 1982 space opera is unquestionably Ricardo Montalban’s suitably operatic Khan: cruel, vain, grandiose, and gleefully, gloatingly theatrical in his evil. Like the old Hollywood pro that he is (having begun his screen career four decades earlier, which then continued for years at MGM), Montalban recognizes that villainy needs to be played to the hilt—and then right over the hilt and up the forearm when possible. It’s possible to forget—preferable to forget, really—the presence of Shatner, Nimoy and their dull crew and just bask in Montalban’s malevolent glory. Like the man says, “From hell’s heart, I stab at thee! For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee!” (Next week: Joss Whedon's 2005 Serenity.) (PG) BRIAN MILLER

Wednesdays, 6:50 & 9:10 p.m. Starts: Feb. 10. Continues through April 28, 2010

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