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The Crack Magazine

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Dungeon and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves

Directors: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley

Stars: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Hugh Grant, Daisy Head

Despite its role-playing game source material being nearly half a century old, this rollicking adaptation feels very much in thrall to more recent, small and large screen sword and sorcery fare. Pine is Edgin, a roguish bard and ex-underground spy turned thief. He and one of his partners-in-crime, tough barbarian woman Holga (Rodriguez), have been imprisoned after a heist gone wrong, but are determined to break out to see Edgin’s young daughter Kira. Holga had helped raise Kira after the brutal murder of Edgin’s wife. Following a daring escape, they discover that Kira is now the charge of Forge Fitzwilliam (Grant), a preening ex-accomplice of theirs, who has taken control of a fortress city with the aid of red witch Sofina (Head, a genuinely eerie presence who feels like she belongs to a different movie). So Edgin and Holga must recruit a gang to enter the castle, rescue Kira, and procure the Tablet of Reawakening with which Edgin can bring his wife back to life. They enlist rubbish sorcerer Simon (Smith) and a shape-shifting druid Sophia (Lillis). The whole thing plays out like an episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ mashed up with Matt Groening’s ‘Disenchanted’ (Rodriguez even sounds like Abby Jacobson’s Bean from the latter) and viewers’ enjoyment will depend on their liking for Marvel-style bantz and anachronistic dialogue. The loping, episodic pacing alternates swashbuckling action with exposition and lore-dumping, but there’s the odd chuckle among the unappealingly lurid CGI melee, mostly from Regé-Jean Page’s Xenk, an earnest nobleman with no discernible sense of irony or humour, who has a penchant for gnomic aphorisms. Grant is appealingly slimy but it often feels like the actor is playing in a vacuum – a couple of incompetent minions might have given him something to bounce off.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter @DWill_Crackfilm 

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