Review: Speed Racer Die Cast Mach 6
The best movie of the year is ultimately a trivial recognition: the Oscars will have their say, as will every critic and movie fan in the world, and in the end history may laugh at us all.
I have little interest in arguing whether the best movie of 2008 was Wall-E, The Dark Knight, or one of those movies critics flock to and the rest of us catch on DVD. This year, I would rather use my time to consider a different distinction. I refer, of course, to the most overlooked movie of 2008. And no movie was more unappreciated than Speed Racer. The critics, by and large, dismissed it, while the public ignored it. What should have been a successful summer blockbuster wound up passing by unnoticed.
Was it the best movie of 2008? Of course not. But it's not out of place on any top ten list for the year.
Today, I'm looking at a die-cast Mach 6, the successor to the better known Mach 5. This is produced by Hot Wheels, who also made the Batmobile I reviewed recently. Unlike the Batmobile, this is in a 1:24 scale (a bit smaller). If you're interested, you can also find a similar Mach 5 at various toy stores - be quick about it, though: these are being marked down and might not be around forever.
The look of the car is exceptionally nice. It's bright and vibrant, as it should be, and the shape looks about right.
My only real complaint about the look of the car is that the top is put together with separate pieces, creating obvious lines where the different panels connect. In the film, the Mach 6 appeared more streamlined and interconnected. This is a minor quibble, though, since I like the opening cockpit (more on that later).
There's also a little less detail than I'd have liked in some places. The most obvious locations is the "ventilation" in front of the rear wheels. The back of the package shows a pretty cool design in that area that's entirely absent from the toy. And, while I'm being unreasonably picky, I'd rather if the red paint were just a tad brighter.
On the other end of the spectrum, the front headlights are very well represented. I'm giving the car an eight out of ten for appearance: it looks too good to go lower, but the missing detail bars a possible nine or ten.
Packaging and Extras: ----
The packaging is actually quite impressive. Rather than place the car in flat, Hot Wheels has instead slanted the box, simulating the angle the Mach 6 wound up in while going around turns. It's a nice little detail that I appreciate.
I'd have liked some other extras. A miniature Speed Racer action figure would have been nice, for instance, but I wouldn't have expected it. There was no expectation of accessories, so there's nothing to dock.
Play and Display: ----
The wheels turn and the cockpit opens. It isn't much, but it's better than nothing. The cockpit is actually pretty cool, though not particularly useful. A 'U' shaped section around the driver flips up. Not that we have, you know, a driver... but that's another story.
I wasn't expecting it, so it's a plus. Enough of a plus, in fact, to keep me from deducting any points.
Why would I want to deduct points? Well... it's nothing all that specific. But I kind of feel like this toy should do SOMETHING. The headlights could light up, for example, or maybe the front wheels could swivel. Or, I don't know, the back jet could spin. I've got an old batmobile somewhere that does something like that.
It isn't that there's something specific missing, just that the toy, as a whole, feels a little light on features for its size and cost (original cost, anyway). I'm not going to adjust the final score, though, since it's a minor complaint.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 8/10
I like this toy quite a bit, despite the fact it could use more features. It retails for around $25 and up, though, and that's a little too much. I could justify twenty easily; even twenty-two at a stretch, but there just isn't enough here to warrant dropping this kind of money on a 1:24 car.
But I found it on sale at Toys R Us for half off. $12.50 is more than reasonable for this toy. And considering that the movie didn't do well, I wouldn't be surprised to see this at that price again. We'll see: I might even find myself needing to pick up a Mach 5 for my collection.
If you've got a few spare minutes, why not stop by The Middle Room, my blog dedicated to the interests of geeks everywhere?