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Film / Wheels on Meals

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Kuai can che (English title: Wheels on Meals) is a 1984 Kung Fu Action Comedy, starring three of the most famous graduates of the Peking Opera House.

Two cousins, David (Yuen Biao) and Thomas (Jackie Chan), run a quirky Chinese food truck in Spain and are incredibly good at martial arts. Moby (Sammo Hung) is an assistant to a Private Detective in serious debt, so he takes over when his boss flees in fear for his life. Moby gets a job to track down a woman and her child from a mysterious stranger, but finds out that he's not the only one looking for her. It turns out that the woman Moby is looking for, Gloria, is in love with David's insane father, and her daughter Sylvia is now full-grown. David and Thomas take a shine to her, and along with Moby (who, it turns out, knows them both) seek to protect Sylvia while trying to figure out what's going on.

Notable for a) being one of the few modern films that unites Yuen Biao, Jackie Chan, and Sammo Hung, and b) an epic fight sequence between Jackie and Benny The Jet. Not to be confused with the nonprofit organization, Meals on Wheels. That was going to be the title, but a superstitious studio exec made them change it as two of the studio's recent films that both began with the letter M had both flopped.

Irem gained the rights to make a video game with the movie's assets and created Kung Fu Master (known as Kung Fu on the NES), but the game has nearly no relation to the film.

Wheels On Meals provides examples of:

  • Acrofatic: Sammo Hung's trademark, although Moby still isn't as agile as Thomas or David.
    Thomas: Let's climb the trees!
    Moby: ...elephants can't climb trees!
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Aside from Sylvia's father and uncle being pretty horrid people, David and Thomas are called out by Moby for thinking of abandoning Sylvia once they find out that Sylvia is the daughter of a count.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: When Thomas, David, Sylvia and Moby were being chased by a group of 6 gangsters, Thomas states that he's tired of running and just wants to beat'em up, ignoring Moby's advice that "Running is Winning", and wants to show off the power of Chinese martial arts. He partnered up with David and they easily beat the first 4 men. Then the last two arrived late with a very confident attitude. Since Thomas and David were getting cocky, they didn't get the situation and dropped their guard- then got promptly beaten up easily by the last two.
    David: They're strong.
    Thomas: Yes, they're super strong.
    David: "Running is Winning".
  • The Cameo: The two mental patients that find Moby in the Trojan horse ambulance are Richard Ng and John Shum, Sammo Hung's co-stars from the Lucky Stars movies.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Everyone at the sanatorium. Special mention to the guy who thinks he's a clock and isn't far off from actually saying "cuckoo."
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Jackie Chan vs. Benny "the Jet" Urquidez. This was the first of two times they got to duel on film, and Chan considers both among the best fights of his career.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Downplayed. After defeating the tough thug, Thomas rescues him from falling out of the window, likely out of respect for being a Worthy Opponent. The thug briefly demands a rematch but soon enough seems content to let Thomas go on unhindered.
  • Epiphany Comeback: Thomas gets one of these in a climatic fight, switching from a serious fighting style to a looser, more playful style that catches his opponent off guard.
  • Flynning: Played straight and subverted in the final sword fight, When David, Thomas and Moby all gang up on Mondale, they initially call out their synchronized attacks until the final one where they call aim at different points, forcing him to surrender.
  • Henpecked Husband: Dino, David and Tom's neighbor. In fairness, he's a chronic philanderer, so the wife isn't being entirely unreasonable.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: The climactic fight between Jackie and Benny The Jet.
  • I Can't Hear You: David and Thomas trick Moby into yelling THE SPANISH ARE ASSHOLES right as Thomas unplugs the music (in a crowded disco full of...).
  • Loveable Rogue:
    • Moby appears to be one with Thomas and David doing everything they can to avoid getting caught up in him schemes
    • Sylvia, pretending to be a hooker so she can rob men and just constantly stealing until half way through the movie.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: Averted; while Tom and David are extremely good skateboarders and presumably decent cooks, neither of these abilities comes into play when they're fighting.
  • Money to Throw Away: Moby does this; throwing a handful of cash into the air which attracts a crowd of homeless people, which he and his friends then hide in the middle of.
  • Product Placement: A brief scene during a car Chase Scene, where they run a old woman off the road toward a hill where her car safely makes a jump over another pair of cars and she gets out with car facing the camera (showing off the Mitsubishi symbol) proclaiming she would have died if she didn't have such a good car.
  • Pun-Based Title: On the phrase "Meals on Wheels".
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The tough thug played by "Benny the Jet" is only a minor unnamed henchmen but he proves to be the biggest challenge the castle has to offer, his fight with Thomas taking up most of the climax of the movie.
  • Storming the Castle: With no real plan on how to get into Mondale's castle all three try different methods, only Moby's plan worked without him getting caught or deterred initially.
  • Spit Take
  • Too Dumb to Live: One of the guards at the castle sees a stack of money on the floor near the door that wasn't there before. He gets a steel toe to his chin for his trouble.
  • Training Montage: The movie pretty much starts with one.
  • Translation Convention: Everyone in Spain is speaking Chinese. Just go with it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Moby calls out Dave and Thomas for not wanting to helping Sylvia after they find out she is the heir to a fortune and Moby points out that they were willing to protect her when they thought she was just a normal girl. This speech convinces Thomas and Dave to help out.
  • Who's on First?: Moby is talking to two insane people. Pretending to tell him a secret, Moby tells one of them, "Don't tell anyone else." The other asks what Moby told him, and he says truthfully, "He told me not to tell anyone else." This starts a fight between the two of them.

Alternative Title(s): Spartan X