After 2016’s incredible Star Trek: Beyond, it is somewhat of a surprise to find three years have passed and yet we seem to be no nearer to the release of a sequel. And so, instead, we have to make do with this strange spin-off idea, set over 100 years after the events of the previous three films and with an entirely new cast and crew.
In TREK! we find ourselves in the 24th century, a troubled time in which the Federation has become both increasingly decadent and frighteningly authoritarian. ‘Captain’ Picard (Vin Diesel) and his crew of irregulars fly around not in a single huge spaceship but in a fleet of souped up “runabouts” — personal shuttlecrafts that can zip around at frightening velocities and outmanoeuvre their larger counterparts with a hellish ease. Having quit the military in disgust, they now live on the margins of space ekeing out a living doing semi-legal jobs for time-travelling con-artist Harry Mudd (played by Nick Frost, who also wrote the script).
Picard’s ‘family’ — including Michelle Rodriguez as fiery psychotherapist (and Picard’s love-interest) Troi; violent alien outcast Worf (Dwayne Johnson); aloof robot Data (Alicia Vikander); and Christina Hendricks in a ground breakingly erotic turn as Doctor Crusher — are a tightly knit group whose implicit trust for each other is driven to breaking point when the charming Federation officer Riker (a sensuously bearded Channing Tatum) is sent undercover to infiltrate their team and bring them back to a Federation court for re-indoctrination.
This plot takes a back-seat however when Mudd’s latest scheme accidentally enrages an ancient god. This entity, known only as Q (Tom Hiddlestone), decides to exterminate the entire human race unless Captain Picard and his crew mates can undergo a series of illegal intergalactic time trials to prove that humanity is a species worthy of interstellar travel (and also in doing so, to win back the kidnapped Troi).
The races themselves are never less than spectacular, each one needing the input and specific skillset of the various crewmates, during which the nefarious Riker not only falls for Crusher but realises that these “criminals” are nothing of the sort.
And the final race, taking place inside a supernova (a set-piece which necessitated building of the biggest practical set ever, according to reports) is a truly breathtaking marvel of action and race-choreography as Picard manages to battle his way through a hazardous multidimensional course in record time.
The memorable theme tune of Star Trek: Beyond asked us the imponderable question “Captain Kirk is riding a motorbike. Why is he riding a motorbike?” To which Kirk responded, “Why am I riding a motorbike? Because I’m in love.” There’s no such memorable refrain this time round, but still a similar question could be asked. Captain Picard is racing a god. Why? Because he can.
Peter Bradshaw is here alone.
Country of Origin: USA
Runtime: 121 minutes
Director: Rob Cohen
Writer: Nick Frost
“Captain” Picard — Vin Diesel
Riker — Channing Tatum
Doctor Crusher — Christina Hendricks
Deanna Troi — Michelle Rodriguez
Worf — Dwayne Johnson
Geordie LaForge — Tyrese Gibson
Oh Bri-ahn — Sung Kang
Kay Coe — Gal Gadot
Tasha Ya — Gina Carino
Data — Alicia Vikander
Harry Mudd — Nick Frost
Q — Tom Hiddleston