Dungeons & Dragons Honour Among Thieves review: An unlikely hit
Whether it’s the elastic nature of the game, or just bad filmmaking, Dungeons & Dragons has resisted a quality screen adaptation. The 2000 fantasy film of the same name is notoriously bad, and its two straight-to-DVD sequels are even worse. However, a boom in the IP’s popularity and namechecks in shows including Critical Role and Stranger Things have caused Hollywood to roll the dice again.
Set in a fantasy world of magic and adventure, Chris Pine stars as Edgin, a charming thief who is betrayed on his latest heist by former friend Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant). Imprisoned alongside his best friend Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), the pair break out and form a new gang with a plan to take back their treasure, and Edgin’s kidnapped daughter.
If you’ve played D&D, you’ll be pleased to know this film captures the haphazard nature of the tabletop game. Just as your heroic intentions will be made to look ridiculous through a bad dice roll, so our heroes set out to be badasses but often fall flat on their faces.
For those who aren’t players, don’t be afraid, this is to Lord of The Rings what The Guardians of The Galaxy is to the MCU: a funny send-up of the more serious aspects of the fantasy genre, with quick-witted dialogue and a joke always on hand to diffuse any pomposity. It’s serious enough to make the quest compelling, but the selling point is the fun.
Chris Pine is one of those rare movie stars who doesn’t need the spotlight to shine. He’s charismatic in an ensemble, and the perfect flawed leader for this troupe. Rodriguez is the muscle, and a nice counter to Pine’s comedy stylings, while Sophia Ellis and Regé-Jean Page are impressive as the allies they meet along the way. Grant is the show-stopper, however, continuing the comedy villain niche he started in Paddington 2. He sums up the film perfectly – serious enough to carry the role, but always with a twinkle in his eye.
Dungeons & Dragons Honour Among Thieves is a great night at the cinema. There’s nothing in its dungeons that hasn’t been seen on screen before, but the humour and action mean the ride is one of the most enjoyable you’ll have this year.