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Flying Fast, Furious Through Space

Movies: 'Star Trek Beyond'

Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin).

Before you head into the theater to watch “Star Trek Beyond,” make sure you stop by the snack bar and purchase a big tub of popcorn with extra butter. This flick — the third in the franchise’s rebooted film series — is the epitome of a fun summer popcorn movie. There’s action. There’s humor. And there are plenty of explosions. 

“Star Trek Beyond” is directed by Justin Lin, who also helmed “The Fast and the Furious” films three through six. He certainly has an eye for action, and he has shifted his gaze from street racing to the stars. 

The plot is fairly straightforward. The USS Enterprise, under the guidance of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), is three years into its five-year mission to “boldly go where no one has gone before.” The crew members are going a bit stir-crazy from being stuck on the ship for so long, so they’re happy to make a stop at Starbase Yorktown and stretch their legs.

The Enterprise is soon dispatched on a rescue mission to find a stranded ship. Things don’t go as planned, and the nonstop action kicks off from the moment Kirk yells, “Red alert!” The starship enters a battle with a huge swarm of smaller ships in a beautifully choreographed fight scene that left me on the edge of my seat. Other impressive scenes feature a motorcycle-riding Kirk and an encounter with the enemy that features the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.”

The screenplay is written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. Pegg, who plays Montgomery Scott, is a comedian who co-wrote the films “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End,” so it should come as no surprise that “Star Trek Beyond” is full of laughs to give us a break from all the explosions. The interactions between Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) are particularly hilarious. 

If you’ve seen the other two “Star Trek” movies set in this rebooted universe, then you’re familiar with the rest of the main crew: Uhura (Zoe Saldana), Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin). Yelchin sadly died in a car accident in June, and he gives a wonderful final performance as Chekov. The film also includes a touching tribute to Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock in the original “Star Trek” series. Nimoy died in February 2015.

“Star Trek Beyond” introduces some new characters to keep things fresh. Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), a tough and funny alien scavenger who helps the Enterprise crew, is a welcome addition to the cast. Krall (Idris Elba), the big bad guy who hates the Federation, may seem one-dimensional for most of the film, but his story is fleshed out by the time the credits roll.

Sure, “Star Trek Beyond” may be a little predictable — and you may forget the plot before the fourth installment is released — but for the two hours I sat in the theater, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the explosions and the laughs. That popcorn was tasty, too.

 

“Star Trek Beyond” is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence. It is playing widely.