Wheels, Meals, Fights, and Kidnapping

The eccentric concepts in 1980s Hong Kong action flicks caused narrative problems in some places, Wheels on Meals included. Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao play food truck owners mingling with non-detective friend Sammo Hung on a case to find a missing woman. To make that believable, Wheels on Meals script has to stall for time, crushing the first act’s energy.

There’s also a mental institution component, playing as well in 2023 as expected of an early ‘80s movie, another plot device that chugs along for a few laughs, but minimum payoff. That’s an attempted humanizing element too, grounding Wheels on Meals at least slightly before the ridiculous (in the best Chan/Hung/Biao way) action later.

Wheels on Meals isn’t complex, but that simplicity ends up as a positive

A little sexual innuendo, awkward encounters, and playful banter buy time until a dazzling, ludicrously dangerous car chase around Spain’s landmarks begins to push Wheels on Meals toward the final act. There, the film finds its energy, with a vicious brawl pitting Chan against frequent opponent Benny Uriquidez as Hung plays up the camp in a fencing duel. If there were ever doubts that Hung could readily compete with Chan’s playfully comic style, those were extinguished here. Arguably, Hung’s better here than Chan too, although the opportunities differ.

Between those fights is a kooky action comedy, with the humor successful more than not, if imperfect. Co-star Lola Forner takes to her role as the femme fatale with glee, playing up her sexual attributes without becoming a pointless character meant to be kidnapped. She has charm, and when Wheels on Meals finally delivers on her backstory, there’s a genuine human element to her circumstance, building authentic empathy around this absurd scenario.

Then it’s back to the iconic trio, Chan, Hung, and Biao in total sync at this stage in their careers. Each gives a star-making, stunt-laden performance, flush with absurdly perilous ideas around a crime-infested Spain. More than just kicks and punches (also extreme in their visual power), near death car stunts and incredible falls bring flash to this story of wealth, ego, and power. The villains – near caricatures of rich, pompous elites – create an easy dynamic against the cheerfully goofy heroes. Wheels on Meals isn’t complex, but that simplicity ends up as a positive.


Greeting viewers with a gritty film stock, the heavier grain structure doesn’t pose a challenge for Shout’s encode. Going chronologically, Wheels on Meals is the looker between the two Jackie Chan Collection box sets so far. It’s beautifully mastered at high resolution, dazzling in its sharpness and rich in detail. Texture is a constant whether in close to at distance. Location cinematography shines.

Excellent color reproduction keeps imagery lively, flushed with firm, rich primaries. In places, saturation can pass for a modern film, pushing flesh tones to their natural peak and allowing the other hues to thrive. The meal van’s yellow is truly brilliant.

Likewise, Wheels on Meals brings firm, impressive contrast, peak brightness exceptional. Black levels marginally crush at their deepest points and skew blue once, a minor flaw in a fantastic ’80s restoration. Consider the total lack of damage on the print too; impressive work.


Six (!) audio options, with a default to Cantonese mono. Additional DTS-HD mixes include alternate Cantonese (different soundtrack) and an English dub in mono. Dolby Digital tracks bring a rough Cantonese 5.1 upmix, and two 5.1 English dubs, one the original, the other done in 2006.

Each mix struggles to resolve the dialog aside from the more recent dub. As each is dubbed, the muffled recording quality is  difficult to hear and hard on the ears. The music, while flat, thankfully doesn’t suffer the same distortion.


It’s author/critic David West’s turn in the commentary chair. A 90-minute documentary called Break-Neck Brilliance details the ’80s and ’90s era of Jackie Chan’s work in sensational fashion. Then, outtakes lasting four minutes, with trailers and stills as the finale.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Wheels on Meals
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While a slow starter, Wheels on Meals eventually finds its energy to reach classic status.

User Review
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 52 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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