Ever since I saw Jackie Chan’s first American hit Rumble in the Bronx I have been a huge fan. I’ve seen almost every one of his movie that has come out in theaters since then. But it wasn’t until recently that I found out that some of his earlier work which wasn’t released in the U.S. was some of his best. Included in that is the action/comedy Wheels on Meals. A lot of Jackie’s work before he was a major Hollywood star was done with 2 of his best friends. You may remember a TV show in the late 1990s called Martial Law. This show starred Sammo Hung as a kung-fu detective working in L.A. Jackie’s other friend, Yuen Biao , you probably remember from… well nothing because he never made it to American cinema which is a shame. Many people regard Yuen as the most talented of the 3. They all attended the same Chinese Opera school together and have been making films ever since.
What sets Jackie Chan movies apart from other kung-fu action movies is his ability to make you laugh while he’s jumping off a building, diving through a shopping cart, or kicking someone’s ass! You always get a little bit of Bruce Lee crossed with a little bit of Buster Keaton. Sammo and Yuen also lend their comedic and acrobatic side to this film. You know a film is funny when you are reading subtitles and laughing. That is something that is hard to do. But don’t think this movie is just about laughs, the action is intense. The best scene, which ranks up there in the top 10 of movie fight history, includes Jackie and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez (Grosse Pointe Blank, Diggstown). Even if you just check out the clip of the fight scene you will be impressed. So let’s get to the movie shall we…
Jackie and Yuen play Thomas and David, 2 on-the-go chefs in their yellow A-Team like lunch van. This pimped out gut-truck comes equipped with food, grill, multiple flip-top doors and eating area. Even though these guys sling lunches for a living you find out right away that they are no ordinary lunch ladies. They quickly dispatch a few thugs who are threatening their business, and fall in love with a “princess/prostitute” who makes her living pick pocketing would-be suitors. On the run from someone whose pocket she just picked, Sylvia finds shelter with Thomas and David… who quickly find out her motives when she leaves them short some lunch money! *rim-shot*
Meanwhile on the other side of town Moby (played by Sammo) is making a more respectable living as a private detective. Having been given this task from a man he knows very little about, he is hot on the trail of a girl he knows even less about. Needing a little help, he tries to get his good friends Thomas and David involved. But you can tell this isn’t the first time he’s brought a silly request their way. Even though they deny the request they are helping even more than they know. I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say that the girl Moby is looking for is the same one that his buddies have stumbled upon. But the three amigos aren’t the only ones looking for Sylvia… she seems to have lots of enemies. You’ll have to see this one for yourself to find out who gets the girl, and how many asses get kicked in the process!
While the comedy in this movie carries the beginning of the flick, the action scenes during the last half steal the show. This movie was shot in Spain, and the scenery is not like any other martial arts movie. The beauty of Spain really adds to the choreography of some of the fight and chase scenes. Any fan of Jackie Chan movies will love this one. And if you are not familiar with Sammo and Yuen you will be pleasantly surprised.