Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves Review- Fans of the Roleplaying Game will be Right at Home During this Campaign

Dungeons and Dragons, the roleplaying game has had a film in the past based on it that came out back in 2000 starring Marlon Wayans and Jeremy Irons. It wasn’t well received by fans of the game or critics alike. It was a pretty bad film all the way around. Now Paramount has relaunched its efforts to bring this popular IP back to the big screen with Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves.

In a cold open, we find Elgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) in prison. They go up for a pardon and Pine’s character gives the audience a back story on why and how they has been imprisoned. As they were about to be pardoned by the board they escape using one of the board members as part of their escape plan. That’s when the movie actually starts. Pine’s character gathers up a group of rogues for a fight against a man who betrayed him, Forge (Hugh Grant), and stole his daughter Kira (Vhloe Coleman) and his witch ally Sofina (Daisy Head) who has her own plans.

The cast is pretty vast in this adaption of the popular roleplaying game. If you were at home playing this might be a wacky campaign you mind ending up doing. They are a shapeshifter after Doric (Sophia Lillis, It & It Chapter 2), a wizard Simon (Justice Smith, Detective Pikachu), and for a short time a battle-hardened warrior with many talents Zenk (Rege Jean-Page, The Gray Man). Together this ragtag group has to save the kingdom from peril even though they are a bunch of thieves and nogoodniks at heart. 

Part of what brings this world to life is the visual effects. Lillis’s character changes shape so often it’s hard to keep up with her, but the best shape she changes into is an owlbear. This is a pretty cool beast. There is also a fat dragon, plus when characters played by Smith and Head use their powers all kinds of crazy things happen. The witches’ powers are all red and cloudy and they look pretty cool. A battle between the two using giant hands as avatars was pretty awesome. A contrivance item was a special walking stick that turned into a wand that was called a hither dither stick and had some amazing visuals as well. They used it to travel from one point to another using a portal. I rather enjoyed how this item was used to great effect in the movie despite it being a bit of a contrivance item.

Part of the charm of Dungeons and Dragons’ Honor Among Thieves was its dark humor. The audience I was with was hooting and hollering at many quips and one-liners. Especially from Jean-Page and Pine’s characters. They did have a nice banter with each other. Also, the chemistry between Pine and Rodriguez was pretty funny at times. The humor made the film that much better even though it was a dark comedy. People got a lot of the jokes and awkward humor the film was going for. I for one didn’t laugh as much as others in my screening but I understand why they did laugh. Some of the humor was amateurish to me.

Chris Pine has made a name for himself as Captain James T Kirk in the reboot of the Star Trek films and as Jack Ryan in one of the Tom Clancy-based films. As well as Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman films but it’s Hell or High Water, The Finest Hours and I am The Night that he does his best work. Most of it is dramatic work. In this film, he tries his hand at comedy and it works. Similar to his banter in the reboot Star Trek franchise with Dr. “Bones” McCoy (Carl Urban) He had it in him this whole time.  With the rest of the cast which made for a relatively funny film overall. I would love to see him flex these muscles once again very shortly.

Dungeons and Dragons’ Honor Among Thieves isn’t going to be for everybody. It has a lot of dark humor that may go over some people’s heads. Even though the crowd I was watching laughed a lot I felt some of the humor was a bit amateurish. That being said it worked in the context of what the filmmaker was going for. Along with the humor, the visual effects were stunning. The shapeshifter and various magic users all looked amazing using their various powers. The cast is fantastic as well with Pine and Page as the standouts. I can see this film getting a sequel very soon. Fans of the game will be right at home in this campaign though.

3 ½ stars

Dan Skip Allen

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