Thursday, April 1, 2010

Movie Review: Case Closed: The Fourteenth Target

*Spoilers Warning* This is a movie review on a mystery movie. So, if you haven’t seen the movie before and are curious about solving it yourself, please refrain from reading it. Take you for understanding and to those who want to continue, please enjoy!


Case Closed: The Fourteenth Target
Rated PG
3 Slimes
Copyright Funimation Entertainment 2007 (English Release)

THE CHARACTERS

Jimmy Kudo/ Conan Edogawa: Jimmy was a famous private detective at the age of 16, but when he got too nosy into a case one time, we forced to ingest a substance that turned him into 6 year old Conan. He’s currently residing at Moore’s Detective Agency until he return back to normal and track down the people who did that to him. He ‘helps’ Richard in the background solve his cases and often gets caught up in a lot of murders that happens around him, and this case is no exception. He is one of the targets of the murder, but since he is stuck as Conan, he is able to avoid being a target. He is one heck of a shot and saves Rachel from the murderer in the end.

Richard Moore: A former detective now turned private detective, who lives with his daughter. He isn’t actually one of the best detectives around, since he makes a lot of random and rash judgments on different suspects, but Conan is able to keep his reputation strong. He is the center of all the chaos the murderer leaves in the movie and is ultimately determine to arrest the man responsible for the crimes.

Rachel Moore: Daughter of Richard Moore, who has a secret crush on Jimmy Kudo. She is ultimately worried about the whole case and tries to help out as best as she can. She isn’t one of the targets, but is used as a hostage by the murderer near the end of the film.

Inspector Joseph Meguire: One of the higher ranking officers and former partner of Richard in the police department. He is one of the targets of the murderer and is nearly killed by a crossbow early on.

Inspector Santos: A detective working under Megure who is also one of the targets of the murderer.

Hiroshi Agasa: Jimmy Kudo’s next door neighbor who makes a lot of gadgets for him when he is Conan. He is one of the few people who knows of Conan’s true identify and often goes to talk to him for advice. He is one of the targets of the murderer and is nearly killed.

Eva Kadan: Richard’s Ex, Rachel’s mom, and a powerful attorney. She is one of the targets of the murderer and is nearly killed when she eats poison candy.

Emilio Cantore: Photographer and one of the targets of the murderer.

Peter Ford: A news reporter and one of the targets of the murder.

Mason Norfolk: An essayist, food critic, writer, and one of the targets in the case. He does it all!

Chris Ashton: A local businessman that has a stronghold over a lot of the businesses in the city. He is one of the targets of the murderer and is eventually killed.

Henry Tish: Professional golfer and one of the murderer’s targets. He is nearly killed when his helicopter crashes due to tampering with his eye drops.

Nina Oliver: Professional model and one of the targets of the murderer. She is murdered by the killer since she is the one that caused him to lose his sense of taste when she crashed into him.

Kevin Simms: A wine taster for a restaurant and one of the targets of the murderer. Turns out he is the murderer and is really after all the people who have wronged him. Everyone else, including Richard’s family, are mere obstacles to him. His arrested at the end of the film.

Jake Monoro: Was a former card shark and murder that Richard arrested while he was still a police officer. After being released from jail, he takes a personal vendetta against Richard and all of the people around him by trying to kill every last one of them. In the end, it turns out that J.T. was murdered long after he got out of prison and the murderer was merely trying to make it look like this guy was the killer.

LESSONS LEARNED
+ Nothing ruins an evening like talking about another woman in front of the wife.
+ Never eat chocolate delivered to you by mail.
+ You land a helicopter if you have play with a simulator before.
+ Never underestimate a wine taster. They are sort of like super villains.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR
2 min – I hope you are paying attention, because this is the background you’ll be getting on everything.
4 min – Ah yes, the skateboard. If I remember correctly, you only used that once in the entire manga. Waste of an investment.
9 min – I’m going to have to agree with your friend there about that guy.
15 min – Hey! I’m watching this movie to be entertained, not learn something!
24 min – Damn that guy is good with a motorbike.
40 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST TONS OF WINDOWS!
43 min – That card looks pretty good for being inside of a burning helicopter.
50 min – Wow; is Sea World involved in this place?
60 min – So that’s what it looks like to sleep with the fishes.
69 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST AN UNDERWATER RESTAURANT!
80 min – Ok, I’ll be honest. I didn’t see that coming.
81 min – He didn’t see that someone else threw the cards?
85 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST AN ENTIRE AMUSEMENT PARK!
93 min – That’s a lot of destruction.

NOTABLE QUOTES
Serena: (Referring to Mason Norfolk) You know, in person, he sort of looks like a singer from a bad 80s band.

Richard: (Talking to Henry) Let me introduce you to my family. This is my ex, Eva; my daughter, Rachel; and that freeloader there is Conan.

THE PLOT

Let me get straight to the point. I love Case Closed. It is one of my all time favorite mangas and animes out there. Hearing that there was a movie finally being released state side was exciting. Unfortunately, I missed movie 1, but I manage to make it up by getting movie 2 here. As much as I am a fan of this show and how much I liked the movie, how could it hold up with a regular audience who isn’t completely familiar with the series? So, I examine that as I watch this movie.

The film begins with Rachel Moore, daughter of Private Detective Richard Moore, waking up for a nightmare in which her mother is shot by an unseen gunman. She calls her mother (Currently, her dad and mom are split up and Rachel is living with her dad), but she is alright. After that, we are given our background on all the characters and the situations that been happening in the manga outside of this movie. Pay attention here since I’m not going to explain it!

After our introduction, we see Jake Monoro leave prison and tries then to visit Richard Moore. Take note of that for future reference, since it is important. Later that night; Conan, Richard, and Rachel go to dinner with Eva Kadan, Rachel’s mom; at a restaurant. There; they run into Henry Tish, a friend of Richard’s and a golfer; Kevin Simms, a family friend and a sommelier (Wine steward), and Chris Ashton, a rich businessman that owns a lot of big buildings in the area.

Now a week later after that dinner; we see Joseph Meguire, a police inspector, taking a run through the park. Then out of nowhere, someone from the bushes shoots him with a crossbow! He survives the incident luckily and is taken to the hospital. Richard; Conan; Rachel; and Inspector Santos, another inspector at the police station; go to visit him. They don’t know who shoot Meguire, but they did find a strange piece of evidence near the area. A cardboard dagger.

Now we cut to Eva Kadan, who is given a box of Swiss Chocolate at her office. Since Richard is the only one who knows she lives Swiss Chocolate, she has one. Unfortunately, the chocolate is poison and she collapses. She survives and the police find a paper flower alongside the box of chocolates.

Conan is pretty sure he has seen these items before, but can’t figure out where. He goes to talk to Hiroshi Agasa, his previous next door neighbor, for some advice. While there, someone throws a rock through the window. Agasa walks outside to check what happened and someone on a motorbike shoots him with a crossbow gun. He manages to avoid getting hit in any vital areas, but is still wounded badly. Conan gives chase, but loses the suspect. When he returns to Agasa’s home, he finds a strange object near the front gate and figures out what is going on.

To explain everything a little easy; all the attacks revolve around playing cards. The first attack on Meguire is related to the King Card, which is also the 13th card. Meguire’s full name is 13 letters long and the cardboard dagger left behind is to resemble the King’s Knife that he holds on the card. Eva Kadan is related the Queen Card since her first name in some languages translate to Queen. The paper flower left behind represents The Queen’s Flower on the card. Agasa is related to the Jack Card, which is also the 11th card. Agasa is an inventor and has eleven patents, hence the 11th card. Plus, the item left behind at his crime scene represents The Jack’s Royal Scepter. All of these cases all then relate back to Richard Moore, since they are all friends and family. Man, I hope you are following all of this.

Inspector Meguire, who is all healed now; meets with Richard, Conan, Rachel, and Santos about the case and says that this case probably relates to Jake Monoro. He is a former card dealer and had served 10 years for second degree murder before being released recently. Richard was the cop that had arrested him long ago and Jake is now after revenge.

Before being booked earlier, Jake had escape from the officers in the station and took Eva hostage. During the standoff, Richard fired 2 shots, one that grazed Eva in the leg and one that hit Monoro in the shoulder. Internal Affairs launched an investigation into the shooting and Richard was forced to resign. While the resigning has nothing to do with the movie, I do find it interesting and a good back story for Richard as a fan of the series.

Now back to present, everyone now had to figure out who the next target is, which is the 10th Card. After some thinking, they realize that Henry Tish is the next target in the case. He is ranked as the 10th Best Golfer in the world currently, so everyone heads to him as fast as they can. When they arrive, Henry is about the leave in his helicopter. They explain to him what is happening, but can’t convince him to not fly, so Richard and Meguire fly with him while Rachel and Santos head to the main airport where Henry is ultimately going to fly to. Also, Conan sneaks abroad the helicopter.

The flight goes well, but unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse. Before the helicopter went up, Henry put in some eye drops because of his allergies. However, they been switched with Atropine Eye Drops, that dilate his pupils; so when the sun comes out, he is blinded. Conan, who has had some piloting experience when he was Jimmy, is force to crash land the helicopter at his school. Later, in the wreckage of the helicopter, the police discover a 10 playing card.

Although he doesn’t know who could now be the 9th target, Richard figures his friend Kevin Simms could be the 8th target. The reason is because Kevin attended a culinary school that has an 8-year program. The police, Conan, Richard, and Rachel go to meet with him to figure out what he plans on doing. According to him, he is going to be meeting with Chris Aston, a businessman.

Conan then realizes that Aston may be the 9th target since Aston owns 9 buildings in the area and he once almost hired Richard for a case. The group, including Kevin now, heads to Aston’s new amusement park to meet with him. There, they also run into fashion model Nina Oliver, reporter Peter Ford, photographer Emilio Cantore, and writer Mason Norfolk. All of them are also meeting with Chris Aston as well.

They all take a tram over to the park, since it is built in the middle of the bay area. Once there, they take an elevator to the underwater restaurant, where Chris is suppose to meet them all. Chris is missing and is nowhere to be found. Meguire then informs the people about the case and then a lot of them all realize something. They are all connected to a number card in the deck!

Here’s how it goes: Nina Oliver is the 7th Card, since she has been modeling since she was 7. Emilio Cantore is the 6th Card, since he has 6 kids and he had previously taken Monoro’s photo for a book. Richard Moore is the 5th Card, since he has 5 letters in his last name. Peter Ford is the 4th Card, since his last name has 4 letters in it and it sounds similar to four. Inspector Santos is the 3rd Card, since he is the third child of 3 siblings and they were all born 3 years apart. Mason Norfolk is the 2nd Card, since he has written 2 books and when he was a journalist, he wrote an article about Monoro. Jimmy Kudo, although not there, is the 1st Card, otherwise known as the Ace. He is this card since he is the number one detective and is number one in most things he does. Got that?

Ok, the group keeps waiting around, but Chris still doesn’t show up. Ford finds a letter addressed to Kevin that tells him to go down to the wine cellar to pick out some wine. Kevin heads down with the group, but is almost killed when he sets off a booby trap meant for him. The group decides to leave, suspecting it will be getting too dangerous if they stay. However, the door is electronically locked and they also see Chris’ body floating in the aquarium outside of the restaurant. In his coat pocket is the 9.

With nowhere to go, they try looking for other possible ways out. Meanwhile, Nina, worried that she is the next target, tells the group about a traffic accident before. 3 months earlier, she caused a motorist to crash on a motorcycle and she fled the scene in fear. The group splits up and searches the place, while Nina, Conan, and Rachel stick together. However, someone cuts the power to the restaurant and kills Nina in the dark. While making his getaway, the criminal knocks over Conan’s soda, splashing it on his pants leg.

While examining the body when Richard turns on the light, Conan discovers that bruise on Nina’s back that came the suspect’s left hand, which means the person stabbed her with the knife using his right hand. Remembering a photo of Monoro from earlier, Conan saw him using his left hand, meaning he is left handed. This mean the killer isn’t Monoro. The real killer is right handed. Aren’t mysteries fun and complex?

Conan then checks the men’s pants legs after remembering that the can was kicked earlier. During which, he discovers who killer is, but doesn’t understand the motive. However, he gets an idea and sets it in motion. He fills up a bunch of glasses with mineral water and gives it to everyone. Yeah, it seems like I’m commenting on every little thing and not really making much jokes during this review, but everything I mention is important in the long run and I wanted a more serious approach for this review.

Just as Conan figures everything out, the suspect sets off a bomb and the water from outside rushes into the room. Remember! They are in an underwater restaurant after all. During this, Rachel is trapped underwater, but Conan manages to rescue her. The group heads to an air pocket in the room and sees the 6 through 2 Playing Card, meaning the killer was hoping to kill them all in one single blow. Now that the windows to the restaurant are blown out, the group can now swim to the surface.

I’m going to pause for a second and tell that the rest of the review will be containing major spoilers. As in, I’m revealing who the killer is and the motive for why he did it. So, if you don’t want to know who the real killer is and everything, just skip the rest of the review if you didn’t already spoil it by reading the character bios at the top.

Anyways, the group makes to the surface and reaches part of the park that isn’t underwater. Mason starts choking on the water from before and Kevin offers to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation. However, Conan using his voice modifier bowtie (It can be use to change people’s voices) to say, using Richard’s voice, that Santos should give the resuscitation. Santos does and Mason ends up ok. Conan then pus Richard to sleep using his stun gun wrist watch (Just go with it) and then reveals everything, still using Richard’s voice.

The real killer? Why it is now other than Kevin Simms! He used Jake Monoro as a scapegoat so he could commit the crimes. The reason is because Kevin has taste disorder. Taste disorder is where a person loses he sense of taste and to a sommelier, that’s very important. This disorder can be brought on by severe head injury, which happen when he crashed his bike due to Nina. Kevin doesn’t believe it and ask for evidence. Conan tricks him into emptying his pockets, which reveals a wine cork that Nina had drawn on early. During the time she was stabbed, she managed to slip it into his coat pocket before dying. Also, he still has the last remaining card in his pocket, the Ace that was meant for Jimmy.

Kevin confesses and reveals that he killed Nina because of that accident. He killed Chris because he was destroying the wine he collected by leaving it in an unsafe environment, he attempted to kill Mason because he was a joke since he knew nothing about food despite being a so called expert in it. He also attempted to kill Henry since he made a mockery of him and his profession. Everyone else he attempted to kill was merely added to fill in the last places in the playing cards. Man, someone has anger issues.

He also confesses to killing Monoro, who he ran into outside of Moore’s place. Monoro was apparently there to apologize for taking Eva hostage. The officers are about to arrest him, but Kevin sets off one more bomb, which starts to sink the whole place into the ocean! He makes a run for it, but also grabs Rachel as a hostage, who is still woozy from being trapped underwater earlier. Richard (who is awake now), Santos, Conan, and Meguire chase after Kevin while Ford, Emilio, and Mason swim for shore.

The group chases Kevin up to the top of the park and confront him on the helicopter pad, where a copter is already waiting. Kevin holds Rachel in front of him so that Santos can’t shoot him. He forces Conan to bring him the gun as the pad begins to crumble. Conan then realizes something as he brings the gun. He remembers the story about how Richard shoot Eva before and now knows why that happened. Conan then shoots Rachel, grazing her leg and making her unable to stand. Kevin now can’t use her as a shield since she is useless as a hostage now, so Richard tackles him. The group boards the helicopter with the suspect in toe and watch as the whole place crumbles into the sea.

The helicopter lands and Kevin is taken into custody. Rachel heads to the hospital with her wound and so does Meguire, whose prior injury opened up. The others from before are picked up by the harbor patrol and brought back to land as well. With that, the movie closes and the credits roll.

That was Case Closed: The Fourteenth Target and it was generally a pretty good movie. The main characters, while built up in the main series, were given some more depth in this movie and I did find the background they gave on Richard Moore very excellent. The music was good, fitting each scene properly, even if it isn’t memorable. Voice acting was good as well for most characters. I do find one of the side characters’ voice annoying, but he didn’t have much of a role this movie so there’s no harm done. I can’t say if the Japanese version is better, because I didn’t listen to it for this review. So you’ll have to check it out yourself.

The strongest part of the movie is the story. It is very well written and the mystery of it was complex, which is why I went into much more detail than I usually do in a review. The idea of the playing cards was pretty good and the reveal of the villain was unexpected. The back story of what happened with Richard when he shot Eva was also very well written because it gave a lot of character development to him.

There are some problem though that could be considered a problem. The characters, outside of the main ones, aren’t very well developed and they are pretty much there just to be targets. The villain’s motive was alright, but seemed pretty out there when he went after Henry Tish. Also, he seemed almost like a super villain when he blew up the amusement park at the end. The other thing, which is more of a nitpick on my part, is the character models. I read the manga and seen how the characters looked in that version. When I look at the anime’s version, they seem a bit more oddly drawn or awkward almost. It’s still just a problem for me and should hold no bearing on other people.

So, what do I have to say? The movie is very good, but not hundred prefect. It is without a doubt a definite watch for any fan of the franchise and even people who like mysteries. It could be a problem for people who are unfamiliar with the series, although the quick the opening and background on Conan could be enough to fill people in without alienating them. In general, this is a movie that is worth watching for most people and should keep you guessing all the way through.

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