Monday, September 14, 2009

Case Closed: The Fourteenth Target

Case Closed: The Fourteenth Target

Sommelier on a killing spree! Talk about major food poisoning.

The Fourteenth Target opens to a dramatic dream sequence where Rachel Moore (voiced by Colleen Clinkenbeard), the daughter of the “great” Detective Richard Moore (also known as the Sleeping Sleuth) watches as her mother gets shot. The scene cuts to her waking up in her bed. That same night they meet up with an old family friend, Kevin Simms, who has become a famous sommelier (a fancy word for a restaurant Wine Taster, for those who aren't versed in the world of cooking). The next day after some light-hearted banter, Inspector Meguire (voiced by the gruff Mark Stoddard) gets attacked in a park while jogging, Law and Order style. A day later, while Meguire is still recovering in the hospital a plethora of other people are attacked, and it turns out they all are friends, family, or acquaintances of Richard Moore (played by the mysterious R. Bruce Elliot). The attacker seems out to “get back” at Richard. This mystery eventually leads all the characters to a Hotel owned by an acquaintance of Richard, who is targeted. They meet up with the wine taster again, and a group of others, all who turn out to be targets as well. Eventually, each of these people are killed off, but as usual Conan saves the day.

This movie is the second Case Closed movie; both were released in theaters in Japan, and on DVD in America. The movie plot is typical Conan style, in which Conan runs around and finds clue and helps the detectives figure out the crime and “whodunit" while still pretending to be a kid. Eventually he pulls a move that would make James Bond proud and knocks out Richard with his gadget. Then, Conan uses another gadget to fake Richards’s voice and successfully solves the crime similar to all the episodes of Case Closed. It turns out this wine taster got really ticked off at the fact that he is losing his sense of taste. His doctor said that stress or his recent head injury is to blame, and so he conjured up a plan to whack all the people in his life who cause him stress (and the one person who caused his injury), frame an old thief/card dealer and live happily-ever-after with his parents in a wine vineyard. And he would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that meddling Conan. Oops, wrong movie.
Anywho, The music is very dramatic giving the movie a 1980’s detective drama feel to it and the saxophone manages to give it a little bit of a “Hardboiled” atmosphere. However, it occasionally comes off as dated and may not have been the best choice of music. While the artwork was spiced up for Conan-on-the-big screen, it still is largely undetailed and un-life like when compared to other animes who've graduated to the movie theater. Luckily, the content is not a loss. The movie uses comedy at the right times, has enough drama, and plenty of action. Most notably, the voice acting is great, especially for an Anime dub. The actors do an excellent job at capturing their characters emotions at pivotal points in the plot.

Perhaps the best part of this Conan installment is the connection each character has with a specific playing card, all thanks to Funimation. The Japanese version had the connections related with each character's name written out in Kanji. However, this would be hard to translate and understand, so Funimation made certain changes to the script to make the connection to the playing cards more understandable and interesting. For example Dr. Agasa holds the patents on 11 inventions, thus he is target number 11 and assigned the Jack of Spades. The only major beef we have with this movie is the killer’s motives. This is something that the show pulls off spectacularly but the film falls surprisingly short. The wine taster just got mad he can’t taste things anymore and suddenly that's a motive for homicide? He’s going to kill everyone who causes him stress? That's just as believable as Pam Anderson's boobs.

However, the writers redeem themselves with an action-packed ending. Overall a rather successful silver screen addition to the Conan collection. It'll be hard to trust a sommelier again!

3/4 Stars

- Written by Mike (Prede)
-Edited by Elke
*Official Planetzot Review*

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