Edogawa Conan isn't your typical elementary schoolboy. You see, he's actually a high school sleuth named Kudo Shinichi, but his body regressed to the form of a child in a mysterious incident. Shinichi's sorta-girlfriend, Mouri Ran, herself the daughter of a detective, is taking care of Conan (of course, not knowing it's really *Shinichi*).
Now that that's out of the way ...
Ten years ago, Ran's father, Mouri Kogorou, helped put the dirty card dealer Murakami Jo in jail. Now Murakami wants his revenge on Kogorou and all the others involved in his downfall. Conan must decipher the hints left at the scenes of the increasingly mounting crimes before Kogorou himself is targeted ... for death.
It's so funny watching Westerners (Americans in particular) dance around the fact that Detective Conan is a murder mystery for kids.
The problem is that a lot of mainstream viewers can't see beyond the cuteness of the lead and the fact that this is animated to understand that this is actually no different than any Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew novel, except for the depiction of violence being visually stylized rather than verbally stylized.
The movie itself is pretty straightforward, and fans of the series are going to like this. There is some interesting character work, and it's even a bit educational. I had no idea what a "sommelier" was, and there are numerous hints and facts left around to inform younger audiences and help them follow things along throughout the course of this movie.
There are problems here, though, and they're fairly serious. Conan's deductions come off as either incredibly premature or incredibly obvious, because the pacing of the film runs in fits and starts. A lot of the "evidence" relies too heavily on numerical punnery and obscure trivia ... after a while, it just gets contrived and really silly.
Another problem, mentioned in other reviews I've seen around the net, is that the acting isn't particularly great. While the "villains" are written to be unsubtle in an almost Scooby-Doo-bad-guy fashion ("you pesky kids!"), it's disheartening to see Ran's seiyuu pull out an acting job that is just ... err ... hamtastic. The ending is overblown and the "revelation" is just remarkably contrived.
Even so, The 14th Target is too entertaining and educational to be a *bad* movie. However, I'm afraid to say that just as I've outgrown my love for Hardy Boys novels, so it is that I'm just a bit too old to truly appreciate this simplistic mystery movie.
Fine for preteens and those in touch with their inner Hardy Boy (or Nancy Drew). While it's fun, it's too simplistic and silly for most adults, who would be better served renting something else. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Detective Conan is a rather bizarre and difficult series to give an accurate rating for Western audiences. More conservative parents will not appreciate the depiction of violent murders and blood, despite simplistic plots which are obviously aimed at younger audiences. While the violent content would easily garner a 13+ rating in the States, it's really aimed at younger children rather than teens. I'm going to take a gamble and say that, while the violence isn't graphic enough to offend the ten year olds I know, parents of preteens are be advised to screen this movie first to determine whether it's okay for their kids. Really, in the end, it's no different from an animated version of Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Detective Conan Movie 2: The 14th Target © 1998 Shogakukan Video