I was channel surfing over the weekend, and encountered a film I had never seen before. This in itself imbued it with some novelty value, so I put my feet up and settled in.

It wasn’t bad at all. It was part ill-matched buddies film, part bank heist, part rumbling a money laundering scheme, and part road movie. The executor of the heist was played with amiable menace by John Cusack, but the rest of the cast, including the driving instructor/ex racing driver he kidnaps for the getaway, were unknowns.

The film was made in Oz, possibly with tax breaks being made, which meant that during the chase sequences there were lots of Holden and Ford Falcon cop cars wallowing around, smoking their tyres, and generally misbehaving. Always good fun to watch. The unlikely allies were in a Daihatsu. Not so much fun. They later switched to a rather splendid 1969 Ford Gran Torino, which they ditched when they nicked a 1969 351 Mustang.

So far so good. But during the chase sequences, something kept happening that made me yell out loud. This was to do with the gearchanging going on.

In a manual gearbox car (stickshift) you get five gears usually, sometimes six. I think the current Corvette has seven. But strictly it has a transaxle, not a gearbox. Of course in The Fast and the Furious franchise, Vin Diesel and the boys appear to get 15 or 16 apiece. Heyho. But a manual does mean that a/ you change gear yourself, and b/ there’s a point to it.

All the cars the ‘good guys’ were in had automatics, or slushboxes as I refer to them. There is no need to change gear! The car does it for you! Indeed if you drop it down into Hold 2, as happened a lot at high speed, the valve train will come up through the bonnet for a look around.

They made the same schoolboy error in the Transporter films, with hardnut Jason Statham endlessly and pointlessly apparently changing gear. And yes, I do know I’m a saddo for this stuff even bothering me, when I suspend disbelief and watch cars rolling and the windows not popping out.

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