Wheels on Meals (1984)
“Not since Don Quixote has Spain had so much fun!”
Director: Samo Hung
Cast: Jackie Chan, Biao Yuen, Samo Hung
Synopsis: Cousins Thomas and David, owners of a mobile restaurant, team up with their friend Moby, a bumbling private detective, to save the beautiful Sylvia, a pickpocket.
Wheels on Meals is a fairly amiable martial arts comedy played for broad laughs which miss their target more times than they hit — probably because Asian humour is so different from European. A lot of the jokes in this flick would have trouble finding their way into a kid’s film over here, let alone an action-comedy, but it is the sheer good humour of Wheels on Meals that somehow manages to carry it through. While watching, you get the impression that everyone was having a whale of a time while filming.
Jackie Chan and Biao Yuen play cousins, joint owners of a mobile snack bar, who become involved in a case with their hapless detective friend (played by director Sammo Hung). The plot is lightweight and meaningless, serving only as a showcase for the physical talents of the three co-stars — and it is the too infrequent fights that will keep most people watching. The most likeable aspect about the fights in Wheels on Meals is that the element of humour that runs throughout isn’t discarded for the duration of the bouts — in fact some of the funniest moments occur in what some reviewers have declared one of the best fights on celluloid (not quite sure about that one, although it is outstanding) when Chan’s showboating earns him a brisk slap in the face. Funny how Hollywood has never really cottoned on to a fact that has been known to the Asians since they first started making chop-socky flicks: that, for all its violence and brutality, the martial arts on film are far more suited to the genre of comedy than of po-faced Dudikoff-style action.
(Reviewed 19th December 2006)