Import Corner: Wheels on Meals (Eureka Entertainment) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots
Studio: Eureka Entertainment
Release Date: August 17th, 1984 (theatrical) / March 19th, 2019 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 100 mins
Region Code: B (locked)
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: Cantonese LPCM 1.0, Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Cantonese LPCM 1.0, English LPCM 1.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Slipcover: Yes (Limited to 2000)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Lola Forner, Keith Vitali, and Benny "The Jet" Urquidez
Written by Edward Tang and Johnny Lee
Directed by Sammo Hung
Rating: BBFC: 15 (moderate violence)
Cousins Thomas and David, owners of a mobile restaurant, team up with their friend Moby, a bumbling private detective, to save the beautiful Sylvia, a pickpocket. Action and humor abound in the streets of Barcelona, culminating with a battle in the castle hideout of the evil gang.
Wheels on Meals is a true classic of the martial arts genre. This is a film that is filled with some great fight scenes, including one of the best of the 80’s, and some truly great chemistry between the three leads. Sammo Hung works triple time here with some great directing, providing some amazing fight choreography, all the while being really funny throughout the film. Jackie Chan is his usual, charming self while moving his body in ways that seem impossible and with a speed that would make most people jealous. Yuen Biao, who is not nearly as well known as he should be, performs many stunts throughout the film, including one where he jumps from a second story window on to the street below that I am still, 35 years after the film was released, amazed by. You throw all of this together, along with a baddie (not the main bad guy but he should have been) in Benny “The Jet Urquidez, who is a truly REAL foe to Chan, and you have one of the best films of 1984 and one of my favorite martial arts films of all time.
THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND
Featuring a brand new 2K restoration, and presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Wheels on Meals looks AMAZING. Film grain is intact and leads to an incredibly detailed picture. While watching the film for this review, I never noticed how colorful the film is. Everyone wears something that is bright and cheerful at some point throughout the film and that really shines here. Skin tones look very accurate and this whole transfer just shines. This is one of the best transfers of 2019.
The sound here is special. Throughout the years, Wheels on Meals has had a few different dubs done as well as two different scores. Here we are presented with what I would call as the best of everything. We have the film’s original language presented in its original mono, along with 5.1 versions of the original language as well as a newer one that Fortune Star, the owners of the film, did in 2006. I would stay away from this mix, however, as it is just trash.
We are also given the original English dub that was done around the time of the film’s release, as well as a newer dub that Fortune Star also did, both of these tracks are presented in mono and 5.1.
The biggest surprise, though, is the inclusion of the score that was included with the international version of the film. This is a funkier track that gives the film a much different feel to it. Eureka has included a track that contains the original Cantonese audio and combines it with the alternate score, which is some that Eureka did just for this release. I watched bits of the film with every audio option and have come away with the feeling that the two bests tracks here are the original Cantonese mono as well as the original English dub, also in mono. The Cantonese for purists and the English for those who saw the film first in English as it brings on a wave of nostalgia. Stay away from the 2006 and 5.1 mixes as they are a waste of time.
The first thing you will notice about this release is that it comes with a bright yellow slipcover. We don’t get too many of those nowadays, so it a welcome change of pace.
The slipcover and the blu-ray case sleeve share the exact same covers and backs, just in different colors.
Inside the case, we are treated to some inner art featuring a scene from the film.
We also get a 44-page booklet featuring essays from James Oliver and Scott Harrison.
The disc features the same art as the front of the box and is REGION B (locked).
- On Giant’s Shoulders (7m 41s, SD) This is an interview, done for the UK label Hong Kong Legends, with director/action director/actor Sammo Hung. He talks about shooting the film on location in Spain and the good memories he has of the shoot. He also speaks very highly of his cast, especially Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. In Cantonese with English subtitles
- Archival Interview with Sammo Hung (10m 5s, SD, 1.33:1) Another interview with Hung, this time in English. He talks about working with Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao, shooting in other countries, and what it's like to make a film in America.
- Born to Fight (14m 57s, SD) Here we have an interview with Yuen Biao, again for Hong Kong Legends. He gives us a brief glimpse into his history. He started out in the business working for Sammo Hung as a 2nd A.D.. When work dried up, he went to work in the States before being called back to Hong Kong by Sammo to star in some films he was directing. He also talks about the Wheels on Meals and how he had to learn how to skateboard for the film. In Cantonese with English subtitles.
- Jet Fighter (28m 24s, SD) This is an interview with Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. He gives us a pretty detailed history of his time as a martial artist, winning tournaments and learning new styles. He talks about how he started in the business doing stunts (with no pads as he didn’t know you could use them for that purpose) before being flown out to Hong Kong to play a bad guy in Wheels on Meals. I have never heard Urquidez speaks before as he is always dubbed by another person, plays a silent character, or has no speaking lines whatsoever, so this was a nice surprise. Urquidez seems to be one of the most positive people on the planet and this interview made me like him even more. I wish that someone would give the man the respect he deserves and do a documentary on his life. I would be first in line to see that film.
- King of the Ring (33m 23s, SD) Actor Keith Vitali is next and he starts off by talking about how Chuck Norris was his role model. He also tells the story of how him and Urquidez, when not filming, went around to different dojos in Spain to challenge their best fighters, in order to see if Spain had any good fighters. He also talks about how he gained the respect of the cast and crew because he knew how to take his licks and not complain about them.
- The Inside Track (34m 44s, SD) Finally, we have Stanley Tong, who is the director of Police Story III: Supercop and The Myth, and was a stuntman on this show. He talks about his start in the business as a stuntman and how he would not only double for the lead actor, but for the actresses too. He also talks about working with Jackie Chan, for whom he directed five films.
- Spartan X-Alternative Japanese Release Credits (3m 25s, HD)
- Outtake Footage (4m 1s, SD) This footage all comes from the Marketplace fight scene.
- Original Theatrical Trailer (4m 8s, HD)
- International Trailer (2m 13s, HD)
- Japanese “Spartan X” Trailer (2m 33s, SD)
Wheels on Meals is a really fun film that never takes itself too seriously all the while providing us with what we have come to expect from a Jackie Chan/Sammo Hung/Yuen Biao film: a lot of laughs and some amazing fight scenes. This blu-ray is a must-own for fans of the film and those who really want to see a wonderfully fun martial arts film.