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For Your Height Only
(1979)
 

Director: Raymond Jury                                           
Cast:
Weng Weng


It's always interesting to see the ambition of low budget filmmakers, even if the movies they make are rip-offs of bigger and better movies. Well, I suppose in the case of the Filipino movie For Your Height Only, it could be argued that in this case they were making a spoof. After all, I think it would be pretty hard to not make a kind of comedy when the lead actor can't be any higher than three feet tall. Yes, in this comic take on the James Bond series, they used a little person (to be politically correct) to play secret agent 00*. Not only that, but from the looks of it, they made this movie with almost no money at all. The whole thing is amazing to watch on several levels - it's weird, incoherent, audacious, offensive, fascinating, and pretty funny. I'll admit I was never bored for a minute. If after reading this review you find the movie sounds pretty interesting, then you'll also probably get a kick out of it.

Actor Weng Weng plays secret agent 00, and, well, he's quite memorable. His character's real name is "Wang". which leads to some interesting conversations when people say stuff like, "This is how you communicate with your little Wang," and "Tie Wang up good and tight." Another thing about the talking is that Wang himself doesn't say much in the movie. We soon find out why - when he does, he sounds like a parrot, usually spouting out a quick line like, "Oh, my little head!" (This movie is dubbed, incidentally.) The weirdest thing about him is that Weng Weng is one of those little people that looks more like a child, so at times it seems like a seven year old is doing all the shooting, karate kicking, disco dancing, and gettin' on with the ladies. Yep, our hero gets laid in one part of the movie. After the lucky lady warns him beforehand that sex is addictive, the viewer is left lucky by the fact that we don't actually get to see the sex scene. Elsewhere in the movie, there are several scenes where Wang uses a pair of X-Ray glasses, which are strong enough to see through clothing. It just so happens that the women (and men) seen through these glasses happen to be behind desks and other thick objects, so we don't see any real nudity. Wang also has a healthy share of the 100 or so killings in this movie, but all in all only a few drops of blood are ever seen in the course of the mission. This Wang and his adventures are so innocent, it's kind of charming.

The secret mission of this movie almost plays as something James Bond would complete in less time than the pre-credits teaser sequences of his movies. Some Caucasian scientist, shortly after landing at Manila, is kidnapped by a gang leaded by an unseen "Mr. Giant", who communicates to his gang via radio. Under the directions of their leader, the gang imprisons the scientist in order to get the formula for the "N" bomb, which the scientist was to give to the Filipino government. There's only one agent who can rescue the scientist, and it's agent 00. Lounging beside the pool with a couple of babes, his watch gives him the signal to come in. We next see him on the streets, saving a woman named Lola from a sniper. ("I get shot at once or twice a week," she explains.) He gets the information about the gang after her, and then attacks the gang, using his karate skills to kick countless crotches (there are a lot of crotch kicks in this movie), and run under their legs when they try to attack him. The victor, we now expect that he'll interrogate the gang to find the whereabouts of Mr. Giant and/or the scientist. But then shortly afterwards, agent 00 is called to headquarters with instructions to find the scientist! So what was all of that previous material about - some kind of post-credits teaser?

Agent 00 sees the Filipino version of "M", though since this is a very low budget movie, "M" is also "Q", giving our agent an incredible number of gadgets, including a ring that detects poison, a remote control flying hat, and a special gun that apparently can switch from an ordinary machine gun to a grenade launcher when the situation warrants it. "M"s explanations of the gadgets, which includes a detailed explanation as to why 00's ring is gold and not platinum, are so straight faced insane, they alone makes the movie worth watching. The explanation for the ring being gold, incidentally, basically boils down to the department having a limited budget. Apparently, the bad guys in the movie also have a limited budget, for we see them doing their deeds very economically. No fancy cars for these bad guys - all of them piling into a VW Bug will do. I mentioned earlier that the movie's budget was next to nil. It's the only explanation I can think of for there being no sets, instead seeming to shoot in actual offices, hotel rooms, and real people's bedrooms. It would also explain why the pseudo-James Bond score keeps repeating the same few bars of music over and over throughout the movie. Yet all of the cheapness together gives the movie an engaging tacky charm.

After getting his gadgets, Agent 00 sets off to find the missing scientist, and put a stop to Mr. Giant. Most of his investigation consists of him going to various gangs and getting into karate fights with them (kicking them in the crotch, of course). Many times there is no explanation as to how Agent 00 found these gangs - he just seems to show up whenever the movie seems to think a fight sequence is needed or more advancing of the plot. It gets a little tedious, but not to worry, there's still plenty of strangeness in the movie that will make you stare in amazement. Among Agent 00's amazing skills, we see him jump from a tall building using an umbrella as a parachute, jump off a tall bridge into a river below, and slide down a cable connecting the middle of a ferris wheel to the ground. Most of these stunts actually seem legitimate, with actor Weng Weng really doing this stuff. The little guy had a lot of guts; certainly, he's no wimp. We also see his character in sword fights, sliding across the floor (almost as if he was pushed off-camera) and shooting people, and machine-gunning countless people at the action-filled climax. The climax also includes a confrontation with Mr. Giant, and this scene....um....well, all I'll say is that I don't think you'll have seen anything quite like this confrontation before.

Of course this movie is terribly made - would you expect it to be slick? It's grainy, and with primitive, jerky camera movements. The story doesn't really make that much sense (many times, Agent 00 pulls out a new gadget that wasn't given to him by his boss), and there's no sense of any kind of narrative device. It also seems the dubbing team thought it was ridiculous as well, for there are some really out of place and out of tone lines of dialogue here and there. (When a police photographer takes a picture of a dead body, an onlooker can be heard saying, "I wonder if she does weddings and bar mitzvahs?") Call it dumb, call it ridiculous, but I call it one amazing movie. By now, you will have decided if it's "good" or "bad", so I'll leave the final judgment up to you.
 


UPDATE: Lars Jacobsson sent along this intriguing information:

"Get this - There's actually a sequel to this film! It's called The Impossible Kid, and it was released on video here in my beloved homeland Sweden (under the unexplainable title For Y'ur Height Only -what was they thinking?). I Have no idea when it was made, since it's not mentioned on the box art or imdb, but judging from its look I would date it somewhere around 1979-82.

"The movie itself is not as wild as the original, but pretty damn near. I can't describe the story since I didn't understand half of it. It had something to do with international terrorists blackmailing rich industrialists, but that's pretty much all I can recall. Sadly there's not enough gadget action in the film, and Wang's voice have  somehow changed from Donald Duck's to Charles Bronson's. On the plus side there's some innocent nudity, the world's weakest  hand grenade, the worst motorcycle stunt in film history and lots of other cool stuff going on. So check it out, if you can find it!

"There's also an Agent 00 trailer on my copy. It has parts from both For Your Height Only, The Impossible Kid and some material I don't recognize at all (00 using balloons as a parachute etc). Does this mean there's a whole series of Agent 00-films?"



* Some sources label the hero as Agent 003 1/2 (including the back of the box), but in the movie itself, he's simply Agent 00.

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See also: Fantasy Mission Force, Incubus, Revenge Of The Teenage Vixens From Outer Space

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