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STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

                 

For Hicksflicks.com, Sept. 13, 2013

This sequel to J.J. Abrams' reboot of "Star Trek" three years ago is actually better in one important way: the lead character of Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) is less of a jerk. I had a hard time warming up to him in the first film but this one seems to have softened him a bit. (Or maybe I'm getting softer myself in my old age.)

As everyone knows by now, the film is a remake of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," which I happen to consider the best of all the "Star Trek" movies. That film spun off of a TV episode titled "Space Seed," and that show and the movie both had iconic performances by Ricardo Montalban as superhuman Khan.

"Into Darkness" has up-and-comer Benedict Cumberbatch (PBS/BBC's "Sherlock") as Kahn and he's excellent. But the movie is bent on outdoing every other summer blockbuster by amping up the action, and every other scene is a life-or-death cliffhanger, which becomes a bit wearying.

That's especially true compared to "Wrath of Khan," which had a lot of action, too, but also had a great deal of character development, sly humor and subtle jokes. There's humor here, but, except for Kirk, Khan and Spock (Zachary Quinto), the characters take a backseat to the action.

Still, it's hard to complain too much. It's just so darn entertaining. And it's now on Blu-ray and DVD.