Review: WHEELS ON MEALS 快餐車 (1984) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Review: WHEELS ON MEALS 快餐車 (1984)

Review: WHEELS ON MEALS 快餐車 (1984)

The story centres on Thomas (Jackie Chan) and David (Yuen Biao), both best friends who run their fast food business in the van on the street of Barcelona. One day, David is being conned by a beautiful street hustler named Sylvia (former Miss Spain Lola Forner), who later proceeds on stealing their wallets. Despite that, they help her out when she's in trouble again and subsequently hired her to assist in their fast food business. Things get complicated when their friend, a low-rent private investigator named Moby (Sammo Hung) has been hired to track down Sylvia and her mother, who's been missing for twenty years. That's not all, it turns out that Sylvia happens to be an illegitimate daughter of a wealthy count, who is recently deceased. The count's brother, Mondale (Herb Edelman) foils an evil plan to have her died within 14 days so he is able to collect the inheritance. When Sylvia and her mother are subsequently kidnapped and send away to Mondale's castle, it's up to these three unlikely heroes to save the day.

REVIEW: Following from the success of working together in 1983's PROJECT A and WINNERS AND SINNERS, the sensational trio of Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung returned for the third time in an action comedy called WHEELS ON MEALS. The result was one of Jackie Chan's most popular hits back in the 1980s, with a healthy gross of HK$21.4 million at the Hong Kong box office.

Written and directed by Sammo Hung, WHEELS ON MEALS is a typical action comedy that we often saw during the '80s. The plot is serviceable at best, with a good dosage of humour all around. The particular hilarious moment is nevertheless the one involving the trio visiting the mental institution where they force to encounter some of the patients (Richard Ng, John Shum) over there. Hung's direction is strictly by-the-numbers, but at least they are fun and entertaining enough to keep the viewers occupied. Likewise, the trio (Chan, Biao and Hung) are likeable and engaging enough to watch for. 

While the action in the first hour is surprisingly lacklustre (which also includes a silly car chase that ends cleverly with the fast food van's accessories being used as weapons against the pursuers), it is not until the climactic finale that matters the most. Cited by fans and critics alike as one of the best fight scenes ever choreographed in any Jackie Chan movies, this is the first time that Jackie Chan uses foreign fighters to square off against each other. Here, we have Yuen Biao vs. US karate champion Keith Vitali and of course, the memorable spectacular duel between Jackie Chan and undefeated kickboxing champion Benny Urquidez. This particular sequence itself is a must-see for any martial art fans. Well-edited and framed to perfection, it is especially intense to watch the psychology of both fighters as they try to out-think and out-psyche against each other. What makes this fight scene even more exciting is that it's all pure kicks and punches without the aid of any prop-filled antics usually associated with most Jackie Chan movies.

WHEELS ON MEALS may have been formulaic but still benefits from the likeable trio (Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung) as well as some of the best fight scenes ever choreographed in any Jackie Chan movies.

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