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Wheels On Meals (HK 1984)

Director : Sammo Hung
Producer : Raymond Chow
Screenplay : Edward Tang, Johnny Lee
Cast : Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Lola Forner, Benny Urquidez, Keith Vitali

Thomas (Jackie Chan) and David (Yuen Biao) are fast food traders working out of a van in a town square in Barcelona. They cross paths with a young girl called Sylvia, who is – unknown to them – a pickpocket and seems to be in trouble as she is chased by some dodgy looking men. Private Investigator Moby (Sammo Hung) is also looking for this young girl and uncovers a plot to kidnap her. After initially disliking each other the two brothers form a friendship with the private detective, and when the kidnappers snatch Sylvia they decide to go to her rescue.

by Martin Cleary

If you’re a Jackie Chan or have been a Hong Kong film fan for any real period of time, then the chances are you’ve already seen Wheels On Meals. This is one of those classic eighties action-comedies that HK produced rather well. And in this case it has the magic of the three brothers: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao.

The plot of Wheels On Meals is threadbare although that’s not a problem in a film that aims to purely entertain. Right from the opening scenes it’s clear that this is a film which will be full of sight gags and mugging for the camera. The film is over twenty years old and is still as amusing and satisfying as ever. In fact, the Wheels On Meals has aged really well because the clothes (yellow tracksuits) and hairstyles (check out Sammo’s perm!) only add to the appeal – as does the terrible but strangely catchy soundtrack.

If the plot seems thin then you hardly ever notice it as it’s obviously only there to link together the films many set-pieces. Sammo really excels as director as he throws in car chases, bike stunts and skateboarding tricks to make the film seem different to other HK films of the time. Of course, Sammo’s real excellence in Wheels On Meals is in his role fight choreographer – there’s several classic fight scenes in here. Jackie and Yuen Biao’s encounter with some rough looking bikers in the town square just begins the action in the film – just watch as they kick the bikers off of their bikes and then you know that this film is going to be special.

This is also the film that has the now legendary Jackie Vs Benny Urquidez fight. They fought again in Dragon’s Forever, but it’s the fight in Wheels On Meals that has to be in the top HK fight scenes ever. It’s really intense and both get to show some excellent moves as well as some lightening speed. This is fists and feet fight only, which makes a change from many of Jackie’s ‘chase’ fight scenes. Sammo and Yuen Biao also get to shine in the action scenes. Yuen Biao’s fight against Keith Vitali is almost as great as the Jackie Vs Benny fight, getting to show off some of his gymnastic skills as he flips and rolls around rooms in a mansion, narrowly avoiding Vitali’s superkicking.

Wheels On Meals is so much fun for almost it’s whole running time that it’s difficult to criticise. It has a couple of patchy moments (the trip to the mental hospital slows the film slightly) but the rest of it is so jam packed full of classic moments that you hardly register the naff parts. Wheels On Meals is a rare breed – the kind of film which would be only average in anyone else’s hands, but given the talent of our heroic trio alone it is a classic in almost every sense of the word.

Plot : 3/5
Acting : 4/5
Entertainment : 5/5
Overall : 5/5

Notable Scenes
- Wake up and work out
- Jackie and Yuen style!
- Dealing with the bikers
- Sammo’s perm
- Meet Benny and Keith (‘They’re too tough!’)
- Kickass finale
- Jackie Vs Benny, Yuen Biao Vs Vitali and Sammo with fencing swords!

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Wheels On Meals

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