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Wheels On Meals (1984)

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Starring:

-Jackie Chan
-Yuen Biao
-Sammo Hung

Synopsis:

Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao run a food stand business out of their high tech van in Barcelona. Meanwhile, Sammo Hung is taking over his boss's private investigation business, after the boss runs away because of unpaid debts. Yuen Biaos father is in a mental hospital, but has found a love interest, whose daughter is the beautiful Sylvia. Sammo just happens to get a client who is looking for Sylvia. It turns out that Sylvia is not as innocent as she looks, but Jackie and Yuen Biao are both taken by her. Eventually, they become friends with her, though, just in time to find out that she is being hunted by same bad dudes. Jackie, Yuen, and Sammo have to help her out and find out what she is being chased for.

Review:

Wheels on Meals is actually a very overrated Jackie film. It is held in very high esteem by many fans, but it is hard to see why. While it is an entertaining film for a viewing or two, it has many flaws. In general, the film just drags along and the action certainly isn't good enough to make up for a boring screenplay. With some decent comedy, though, this film manages to keep itself afloat.

The plot for Wheels on Meals certainly sounds interesting. In fact, to a great extent, it is interesting. It has enough depth to it and is a generally enjoyable idea. Yet, the movie manages to squander what would be a passable plot with a screenplay that just drags on. The film starts out cool with the daily preparation and training segments of Jackie and Yuen - setting the stage for what looks like a cool movie. But, after that the story starts to drag really quickly. The viewer is soon looking at their watch wondering how long its been. A bad sign, no doubt. A few twists and turns help keep the film afloat, along with its cool villains. But, unfortunately, the boredom constantly comes back to play all the way until the final action sequence.

Comedy in the film is a slight high point. Most of the decent comedy comes in the form of Jackie and Biao's little bits of bickering. While it may get annoying for some, most Jackie fans will find it amusing. There are some great comebacks and little snips that the two go back and forth with. It is also funny to see them try to outdo each other for Sylvia's attention. Unfortunately, any other attempts at comedy in the film fall a little flat. Luckily, it doesn't come off cheesy, just not as funny as it was surely intended.

The action in the film also becomes somewhat of a letdown. There actually is not a whole lot of action in the film, which is not usually a complaint of mine if the script carries the film, and must of the action that is there is very basic, unimpressive stuff. A couple high points do redeem the action quite a bit. There is a cool chase scene with the van that will certainly entertain. There is also Jackie's final fight with Benny "the Jet" Urquidez which is thoroughly entertaining with some cool moves and an interesting approach to the second half of the fight from Jackie. One particular complaint about the action, though, is that we are supposed to be impressed with Jackie's moves on the skateboard - but it is hard to be impressed when it just cuts to a pair of feet on the skateboard, making the doubling for that part obvious. No one expects Jackie to be a skater, they just didn't need to make it that cheesily obvious.

Overall, Wheels on Meals is just an okay one time viewing. It has an interesting plot idea that just, unfortunately, drags. Some good comedy and a couple good action scenes round out the film. If you are a big Jackie fan, you'll probably want to check it out - otherwise, I only recommend this as a one time viewing if you have already seen a lot of the better movies around.

Director:

-Sammo Hung

Language/Cuts:

-Original Cantonese language.

Grade:

C-

Pictures: