FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY (1981) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9– sized cult following.
I’ve been delaying reviewing this hilariously bizarre film for years. It’s just so chock full of inane dialogue and WTF moments that it’s a challenge to write a review that isn’t novel-length.
For the essentials: this is a Philippine action movie starring the midget novelty celebrity named Weng Weng as Secret Agent OO (yes, Double O). It sounds like a comedy but what makes it great is that IT’S NOT! It’s played seriously and features Weng Weng using firearms and fancy gadgets like James Bond, engaging in martial arts fights like Bruce Lee, drooling over regular-sized women like Herve Villaichez, sword- fighting as skillfully as Zatoichi and sporting a poorly- concealed bald spot like Ryen Russillo.
Weng Weng works for an outfit called simply “The Secret Agency”, so I’m guessing it’s one of those generic intelligence services that is MUCH cheaper than name brands. Hell, the head of the organization even tells Weng Weng during a briefing that “money is tight”, which may be why he multi-tasks, serving as both the M who gives Double O his assignments AND the Q who outfits him with his fancy gadgets like a ring that detects poison, a remote controlled flying hat with razor- sharp rims a la Oddjob and a pair of X-ray glasses that Weng Weng uses to ogle the steno pool at “The Secret Agency”. Before politically correct wimps start whining I’ll point out that our hero also gets treated to the unwelcome sight of naked gunmen waiting in ambush when the glasses see through BOTH his hotel room walls AND the clothing of the concealed gunsels.
The movie opens with the studly Weng Weng hanging out at poolside with a pair of well- loved regular- sized women. We follow him to his briefing from “The Colonel”, who is dubbed into English in very odd, short sentences that make this briefing a continuous laugh riot. (I guess his motto is “Odd, short sentences for an odd, short agent.” ) Double O is being dispatched to deal with a criminal outfit led by the sinister … Mr Giant. No, not Mr Big, Mr Giant, in what may just be an awkward error in translating this flick from the original Tagalog.
Mr Giant runs a syndicate that has just kidnapped the scientist Doctor Von Kohler to try to get the secret of his new invention “the M bomb”. His syndicate also robs gold and silver mines and as an added bonus sells drugs on the side. The organization conceals the drugs in sugar- bread and, hilariously enough, sells them exclusively to children. One of the syndicate’s officers, called Jack, who looks like Redd Foxx as Fred G Sanford on Sanford and Son, brags about how his minions sell drugs “at every kindergarten and sandbox in the country.” Wow! This outfit must be ROLLING in skateboards and yo-yo’s from jonesing pre-schoolers.
The movie proceeds as a series of random events piled on top of each other, with barely any attempt at telling a coherent story. Action scenes are followed by romantic scenes of Weng Weng charming the pants off of every woman he meets. Those romantic rendezvous are followed by exposition scenes in which our hero gets a new lead on the evil syndicate he’s after and those scenes are followed by more action scenes and so on, over and over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Other things to love in this offbeat honey of a movie include:
*** Weng Weng’s DRASTIC over-reliance on kicking and punching his opponents in the groin. Seriously, there are groin-kicking fetish videos out there that don’t feature this much groin-kicking.
*** Chase scenes with our hero running while holding hands with whichever hot woman he has just been with. These scenes make him look like a little boy and his mother racing to the boy’s piano lesson or something.
*** The way our villains seem to have budget problems of their own. The bad guys often pursue Weng Weng and his female colleagues in a Volkswagen Beetle. I’m serious.
*** Anna, a prostitute who helps Double O at one point, is dubbed by a British woman who sounds like Queenie from Blackadder II.
*** The playful way our hero hops and skips over the dead bodies of his fallen foemen in some of the fight scenes.
*** The scene where Weng Weng escapes the baddies by leaping from a high-rise building while using an umbrella as a parachute.
*** The horrific site of Double O’s very odd nipples in his various shirtless scenes.
*** The fact that one of the movie’s hotties, named Marilyn, is a police photographer who openly moonlights as a porno photographer for the evil syndicate. I guess police in the Philippines are much more understanding than ours would be about such a conflict of interest. (When Marilyn discusses her side job with Weng Weng his only reply is a Sinatra- esque “I’m hip.”)
*** The way the mysterious Mr Giant’s voice sounds like Harvey Korman as the Great Gazoo.
*** The sight of sunlight reflecting off the VERY obvious wires transporting Weng Weng across the sky when he is supposedly flying via his Bond-style jet pack.
*** The enormous number of dead bodies that accumulate in all of the action scenes. Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers only WISH they could kill this many people.
Eventually, the bad guys wise up to the traitor in their midst – Irma, an undercover female operative of The Secret Agency. They do this when she stupidly blows her cover BY PUBLICLY DANCING AND CAROUSING WITH WENG WENG AT A MANILA DISCO! The bad guys are so stupid it has taken TWO such incidents for them to finally imprison Irma with Dr Von Kohler. (Did you forget about him? Don’t worry about it. The movie forgets about him, too, for about two-thirds of its runtime.)
Double O smokes out the location of Mr Giant’s headquarters, a hidden island in the Philippine archipelago aptly named “Hidden Island”. The little guy leads a raid on that Island in the action- packed finale, frees Dr Von Kohler and Irma and goes mano-a- mano with Mr Giant, who, to the surprise of nobody, turns out to be a midget like Weng Weng. The bad guys are gunned down by the dozens during the raid but one of them kills Irma at the end of the flick. The final scene shows a morose Double O visiting her grave. Man, can that little guy emote!
You could write a 4,000 word article covering JUST the strange dialogue in this unforgettable mess. Here are some highlights:
The evil Jack chewing out an underling: “Don’t be a nosy parker, Paco!”
Jack complaining about Weng Weng’s interference with the syndicate’s nefarious schemes: “He’s made a monkey out of the forces of evil!” (I want that on my tombstone)
Jack getting serious about killing Double O: “We’re declaring war on that little stinker!” Picture Blofeld saying that about James Bond in one of the Connery movies.
The villainous Mr Kaiser realizing that undercover agent Irma’s necklace is a secret transmitter: ” So THIS is how you communicate with your little Weng Weng!” ( I would die of embarrassment if he learned how I communicate with MY little Weng Weng. )
The helpful prostitute Anna’s bizarre comments during make-out scenes with our diminutive stud: ” You’re very petite, like a potato.” (?) … “Are you a sexual animal?” … “Sex is like tequila … one sip and you’re gone.” … “Bare your bod.” … “I’m crazy about you. Why, I don’t know.” (Insert your own joke here.)
Weng Weng ( real name Ernesto de la Cruz) became a big star in the Philippines after this flick came out, appearing in everything from westerns to comedies to Double O sequels. He starred in at least 11 movies, sang karaoke with First Lady Imelda Marcos, and was made a Special Agent of the Philippine Nation by her husband Ferdinand. Elvis, eat your heart out!
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