Charismatic bard Edgin’s plans don’t always work. And that’s why he and his barbarian friend, Holga, are rotting away in a prison in the frigid Icewind Dale.
They, along with a con man named Forge, were hired by a mysterious woman, Sofina, to steal an item from a heavily guarded vault of goodies. There was a personal stake it in for Edgin, too: One of the many goodies was a Tablet of Reawakening, which has the ability to revive his long-deceased wife.
But they didn’t plan on the vault being booby trapped. So while Forge and Sofina got away with both Sofina and Edgin’s bounties, Edgin and Holga were captured. It’s been a couple years since that heist, and Edgin longs, more than anything, to get back to his daughter, Kira.
That’s why Edgin made another plan that arguably goes better than the last one, resulting in his and Holga’s escape from their confinement. But when they meet up with Forge, whom Edgin entrusted to look after both Kira and the Tablet, things are a bit different.
While they were locked up, Forge weaseled his way into becoming lord of the grand city Neverwinter, storing the Tablet behind a magically protected vault. He’s also quite enjoyed getting to shape Kira into a smaller version of himself, so he’s not keen on giving her back to Edgin, either. Backed up both by his power as lord and Sofina’s deadly spells, there’s not much Edgin can do about any of it.
Which is why cooks up yet another plan: They’ll need to pull off one final heist, one that’ll break both Kira and the Tablet out of Forge’s greedy clutches. For that, they’ll need a team—a team of people who don’t mind Egin’s admittedly shaky track record when it comes to planning and heists gone awry.
When Edgin reunites with Kira after his years in prison, she’s not too excited to see him. And we quickly learn that Forge has been lying about Edgin to her. However, even apart from those lies, Edgin does shoulder some of the blame. He never told Kira about the heist (as he didn’t want to get her hopes up of seeing her mother again if the Tablet ended up being false). But when Edgin returns, he blames his absence on outside circumstances.
Kira isn’t having it. “You’re acting like it wasn’t your fault,” she says. Edgin takes that criticism to heart, eventually culminating in a genuine, heartfelt apology about how he hasn’t been a good father to her and desires to change that.
Kira is excited to see Holga, however. Holga took pity on Edgin when she found him trying to raise then-baby Kira by himself. She’s become a surrogate mother of sorts to the girl, and her friendship with Edgin is unwavering. In fact, after Holga is told by a former love interest to find herself a family, she comes to realize that she already has.
When the party of thieves wants to give up on their quest to save Kira, Edgin tells the group that they can’t give up just because they fail. He says that he’s aware of how often his plans don’t work, but he keeps trying anyway, because he only truly fails if he stops trying.
The party Edgin and Kira build is full of thieves looking to score a hit against Forge. But when a real evil emerges, they band together to stop it from hurting innocent lives.
We see many magical moments throughout Honor Among Thieves. Simon, a sorcerer, joins the party. He casts many spells to help Edgin and Holga fight off bad guys. He also uses an incantation that allows him to raise a dead corpse in order to ask it five questions. Simon also attempts to “attune” to a magical helmet, essentially to bond with it so that he can use it.
Another person who joins the group is a druid girl named Doric. As a druid, Doric has the ability to “wildshape,” or transform, into many different creatures. Doric is also a Tiefling, a race of people cursed with an infernal bloodline after their ancestors made a pact with the demon Asmodeus. (And although Tieflings sport horns, they merely look the part and don’t necessarily act it.)
Another team member, Xenk, is a paladin, a holy warrior that strives to only do good. He imbues his sword with “positive energy” to help him slay some enemies.
Meanwhile, a man from the wicked cult of the Red Wizards uses a spell called beckoning death to turn his victims into an undead army. The spell is said to enslave their souls to his will. When someone is attacked by a Red Wizard, a magical mark is placed on them.
A vault is protected by an “arcane seal.” A hallowed location is called “sacred ground.” Xenk tells Edgin that bringing his deceased wife back from the dead “is to deprive her” of her new life. A man says that some magic chooses who is able to wield it. The Tablet of Reawakening is allegedly able to bring someone back to life. Forge tells Edgin that shaping a child into your own image is like “being a god.”
Holga wears cleavage-baring outfits at times. Edgin shares a kiss with his wife. An orc makes some suggestive remarks about Holga. A man bathes, though nothing is shown.
The combat in Honor Among Thieves can be intense, but it isn’t bloody—even when characters are killed in ways that would likely spill a lot of blood. The combat violence we see here is reminiscent of that in The Lord of the Rings movies in their fierce, yet mostly bloodless battles.
A “beckoning death” spell turns many victims into undead soldiers, shambling and zombie-like corpses that froth at the mouth.
Other people are killed in swordfights and by magic spells. A guard’s head is decapitated inside his helmet. One attacker’s throat is slit (off-camera). Debris crushes some people. Guards get hit in the helmet with a cobblestone. People are tossed around by gravity spells and hit with fireballs or electricity. Holga breaks an orc’s legs. A body is burned at a funeral. A man is poked in his eyes by someone’s fingers. Someone punches through a skeleton’s chest. A tabaxi child (a cat-like race) is pulled from the mouth of a big fish.
The land is full of dangerous creatures, too. A dragon eats a man, and the beast is stabbed in the head. A displacer beast (a panther-like creature) maims many. A gelatinous cube dissolves a man who is trapped inside it (we only see the skeletal end result). A mimic (a creature that pretends to be objects in order to catch and eat people) attacks Holga, and its long, sticky tongue is cut off. People are grabbed by tentacles. An owlbear (pretty much exactly what it sounds like) throws guards around and smashes an enemy into the ground multiple times.
The party talks with a few undead corpses who died in a ferocious battle. We see the battle take place, and its combatants get slashed with swords and attacked by a dragon. One corpse tells of how he died by being hit through the eye with an arrow, and we see his decayed eye hanging from its socket as he speaks. Another corpse was cut in half. A third corpse tells of how he slipped when stepping out of the tub, and we see the man hit his head and die.
The s-word is used five times. We also hear six uses of “d–n” and four instances of “b–tard.” “B–ch” and “pr-ck” are used twice. We also hear single instances each of “h—,” “bollocks” and “bloody.” God’s name is abused once.
Edgin is intoxicated and is escorted home by Holga. A man implies that Holga “drinks herself silly.”
People dig up dead bodies. Edgin describes a bucket in his cell as the “bucket where our pee freezes.” Edgin steals jewelry and horses, and his daughter helps him in a couple heists. Forge lies to Kira.
Let’s talk about the Loxodon in the room.
It’s no secret that Christians and Dungeons & Dragons have historically not gotten along. The D&D (as fans call it) at the start of this film’s title, paired with a lot of magic along the way, may be enough to convince you to not see it. (More on those concerns in a moment.)
But just as a D&D campaign has its many battles, it also has its heroic moments, too. Interwoven within this heist story is a father who is desperately attempting to save and reconnect with his daughter. Like most adventuring parties, it’s about a group of broken people who come together to find that, together, they can have a family.
And, like many a D&D group, Honor Among Thieves refuses to take itself seriously, instead coming across more akin to a medieval format of Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a sillier version of The Lord of the Rings—which makes sense. After all, the creators of D&D took much inspiration from Tolkien’s world.
But also similar to Tolkien’s work, the spells and violence can put a damper on things. Just as Aragorn summons the army of the dead to save the day, Simon the sorcerer asks an undead corpse for wisdom. And you’re right to assume that there’s much more spellcasting, sword fighting and, yes, dragon chomping. Throughout its runtime, Honor Among Thieves puts its adventuring party through various perilous situations that result in plenty of baddies, killed in bloodless fashion.
Honor Among Thieves certainly won’t be a critical hit among the Christian community. But I’d also suggest that its positive messages do keep it from rolling a natural 1.
Though he was born in Kansas, Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics and hermeneutics. He doesn’t think the ending of Lost was “that bad.”