Cert – 12, Run-time – 2 hours 14 minutes, Directors – John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
After escaping from prison Edgin (Chris Pine) and Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) hatch a plan to steal the riches which only just escaped them, and to rescue Edgin’s daughter (Chloe Coleman)
You can often tell when the writers and directors of Dungeons And Dragons: Honour Among Thieves are having the most fun. It’s when they get to play with the various monsters, creatures and magical elements of the world in which the actions play out. The most entertaining scenes are those largely playing with these ideas, and stepping aside from the central ‘plan’ as the central group of adventurers run through mazes and across hanging bridges to escape whatever’s trying to kill them.
There are various backdrops where such elements are used as we see the ensemble changing plans as they go in order to steal treasure which was taken to them just before they could claim it. Leader Edgin (Chris Pine) has spent two years in prison with fellow thief Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) and is determined to see his daughter (Chloe Coleman) again, currently in the care of former crewmate Folge (Hugh Grant – who appears to not be taking the film seriously throughout almost all of his screen-time) who has been promoted from conman to lord. However, after being kicked out of the city they must hatch a plan to break back in and steal back what’s theirs, however darker forces may be at play.
As the narrative meets new characters in various locations, including Sophia Lillis’ shapeshifting tiefling Doric and a somewhat wavering turn from Justice Smith as fumbling sorcerer Simon, the style very much seems to be ‘we need to see this person to go to this place to get this item to do this thing’. While not a huge detraction it does bring in feelings of cliché. This lingers in the styling of a handful of scenes throughout the journey and does remove something from them due to the familiarity. It’s another reason why the flow of the third act contains some of the strongest stuff in the film in terms of the entertainment factor. There’s a more direct nature to the way things move along as the ‘journey’ element is moved away from, with much more in-the-moment points instead of sticking to the ‘plan’.
During such moments, and when properly striking the fantasy-adventure chord and having fun with the creatures and elements of the Dungeons And Dragons world, the film is at its best. The cast appear to understand the light tone, helping to bring one or two chuckles into play along the way, even if not every one of them lands, and help to push the enjoyable nature of the film, even during some of the more cliché-washed sequences. As a whole there’s an enjoyable nature to the film, particularly the third act which stands out as the highlight thanks to the action which it displays.
There’s a fair deal of cliché within Dungeons And Dragons: Honour Among Thieves’ narrative style, however when it breaks away from this and focuses on what the world has to offer there’s an enjoyable quality to the action and fantasy on display.