Movie Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Have you ever played Dungeons & Dragons? I haven’t but that didn’t stop me from following the action in the new film that bears its name. Having no connection to the trio of films that hit cinemas between 2000 and 2012, HONOR AMONG THIEVES is an all-new adventure written and directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, the pair who brought us the hilarious GAME NIGHT in 2018. Daley is also well known to TV audiences for his long runs as Sam on FREAKS & GEEKS and Sweets on BONES.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES focuses on the successes and failures (more of the latter than the former) of Edgin Darvis (Chris Pine, DON’T WORRY DARLING), a fast-talking, plan-making, lute-playing bard and former member of the Harpers (don’t ask me who they are) who landed in a medieval prison after his last exploit to steal the resurrection tablet went awry, separating him from his young daughter, Kira (Chloé Coleman, 65, MY SPY). With him in jail is his partner-in-crime, Holga (Michelle Rodriguez, WIDOWS; the FAST & FURIOUS franchise), a no-nonsense, brave barbarian who has her own unresolved family issues to contend with. After the pair breaks out of jail, they head to Neverwinter where their former associate, Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant, OPERATION FORTUNE: RUSE DE GUERRE; GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY), has become the Lord. Forge, who was a con artist back in the day, has been looking after Kira in the interim but it seems he hasn’t been truthful with the girl about her father. After Forge tries and fails to have Edgin and Holga executed, Edgin comes up with a plan to form a new team to bring Forge down and rescue Kira from Forge’s clutches. Forge, for his part, has formed an alliance with a sorceress named Sofina (Daisy Head) for reasons that become evident later on. Edgin and Holga track down another former associate, Simon (Justice Smith), who is a hapless but loveable magician, and Simon introduces them to Doric (Sophia Lillis, UNCLE FRANK; the IT films), a tiefling druid who has the ability to shapeshift into various animals, both real and mythical. The four head off on a quest to find a legendary helmet that will allow them to break into Forge’s vault where the resurrection tablet is hidden. Along the way, they meet Xenk (Regé-Jean Page, SYLVIE’S LOVE; TV’s BRIDGERTON), a paladin who guides them to an underground lair where they’ll find the helmet. Both the lair and Neverwinter, though, are full of human and non-human traps and challenges, and the team must use all of their strengths at their disposal to make Edgin’s plan work.

If that sounds like a complicated plot that only a nerd could love (and there’s much more than this!), fear not. Even the closeted nerds among us can follow along and enjoy the ride. And it’s a goofy, fun ride too, though you may be hard-pressed to recall much of it an hour after you leave the cinema. There are no particularly memorable scenes or lines in the film, although a certain cameo is an amusing exception, but that doesn’t really matter. The story never takes itself too seriously and the actors, particularly Pine and Grant, are game to poke good-natured fingers at their characters. Page, for his part, plays his character straight up and he delivers his lines with comical, deadpan earnestness.

The film is expected to do well at the box office so don’t be surprised if Paramount and eOne roll the d10 dice again (I had to look that up) and we see a sequel even though HONOR AMONG THIEVES doesn’t set up the story for one. For now, though, the studio has reportedly committed to a eight-episode series that will stream on its Paramount+ service. With tens of millions of fans of the fantasy-themed board game out there, it seems like a bit of no-brainer.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES opened in Hong Kong yesterday and the rest of the world will start getting it today. You don’t need to be a nerd to enjoy it. Just take some popcorn into the cinema with you and have fun.

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