Everyone knows the name of Jackie Chan. He is without question the most famous martial arts actor since Bruce Lee. And like Lee, his style of movie has an undeniable signature to it. But there is a part of the Chan mythos that cannot be uncoiled from two other names. And this is the best movie that trio ever made.
In the world of martial arts movies, Sammo Hung is a big name – in the right circles as big as Chan. And the two have enjoyed a long friendship with many collaborations. But fans sometimes forget the third musketeer, Biao Yuen. He played a leading role in Chan’s big directorial hit Project A, as well as the blockbuster Dragons Forever, directed by Hung – both starring all three. Some hardcore fans even argue that his talents outstrip his two peers. Wheels On Meals (aka. Spartan X) certainly puts weight behind that… or maybe it doesn’t. The problem is that everyone in this is awesome.
Two cousins run a fast food stand in Barcelona. They both encounter the same woman and, smitten, compete for her affections. This is fortuitous for the damsel, as a gang of criminals also appear to be after her. So two love-struck kung fu masters come in handy. Then a detective – any excuse for Hung to don his trademark fedora and bow tie – informs the pair that the woman is a wealthy heiress. She is kidnapped and the trio unleash an extraordinary level of whupass upon the third act to save her. Which is something, given they’ve been beating up bad guys or casually flaunting their acrobatic genius since the opening credits.
Though Wheels On Meals is not as stunt heavy as Chan’s films, it shows Hung’s talent for directing fighting sequences and acrobatic showcases. While Chan usually takes center stage in such collaborations, the load feels much more even across the three actors. Still, he is the lead and as a reward this film’s final fight is hands-down one of Chan’s best. But everyone, including the bad guys, are firing on all cylinders – particularly Yuen. And they are all kung fu fighting. Awesome.
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Last Updated: January 13, 2014