Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Movie Review: For Y'ur Height Only

For Y'ur Height Only a.k.a For Your Height Only 
Liliw Films International, Philippines, 1981.
for y'ur height only title

As ...noir has arrived to "For Your Eyes Only" in his James Bond Marathon (texts in Finnish) let's check also something similar but still quite different produced in the same year.

In 1981 Imelda Marcos wanted to host an international film festival. In Manila International Film Festival she planned to showcase the best and most artistic Filipino movies. The foreign movies shown in the festival were for example critically acclaimed "Gallipoli", "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Body Heat." Of the Filipino films, however, what got most of the attention was a cheaply made midget spy film starring 2' 9" tall martial artist Weng Weng. The construction of the film center itself was a disaster of an incredible scale causing the death of several building  workers and caused a scandal later.

I can only guess that the producers got the idea after watching "The Man With the Golden Gun" and thinking what it would be like to make a James Bond knock-off with Nick Nack as the hero. In Philippines other James Bond imitations were produced too: "G-2",  that started a series of sixteen Agent X44-films and "James Bone Agent 001." Without the unique main character "For Y'ur Height Only" would have been one of the many forgettable Bond-clones. Weng Weng became a mascot of Philippines and he was made into an honourary Secret Agent. Sadly his fame was short-lived, his working conditions were poor and he died in poverty in 1992.  There is an interesting documentary made in 2007 about his life and movies, "The Search for Weng Weng." More about it later. 

Professor Kohler (Mike Cohen) travels to Manila and is instantly kidnapped by Mr. Giant. Mr. Giant wants the plans for the N-Bomb. Weng or Agent 00 (Weng Weng) working for the Forces of Good has to interrupt chilling with bikini babes and start doing what he is paid for. By coincidence Weng saves Lola (Yehlen Catral) whom the baddies (they even call themselves baddies) want dead. Weng and Lola go after crime lord Columbus (Max Alvarado) who looks like Asian Harvey Keitel. After Lola's problems are solved and a bald headed goon is dead Weng continues adventures with undercover agent Irma (Beth Sandoval) who has infiltrated Columbus' gang. I presume that the bald guy was a character named Jack performed by Ruben Ramos as in the sequel "The Impossible Kid" he was performing a role of bald-headed goon named Abdul. Oddly it looks as if some reels are in wrong order as Jack's death is referenced much later.
Weng Weng
Agent 00
Mike Cohen
Professor Kohler
Yehlen Catral
00 gets useful gadgets from his boss (Tony Ferrer): a medallion with walkie-talkie, a ring for detecting poison, dart shooting pen, belt buckle with cutting tools and X-ray glasses for seeing under women's clothes. The gadgets are similar to Bond's usual equipment but there are also gadgets inspired by Rosa Klebb's knife-shoe and Oddjob's hat with a remote control.
Beth Sandoval

Max Alvarado
The loose plot follows Agent 00's adventures as he infiltrates strongholds (this being easy as he is so small), kicks bad guys in the groin and charms pretty ladies just like his bigger colleague. He is just as deadly too with body count higher than in most Bond films. The film spawned at least one sequel "The Impossible Kid." There is probably also a third film "Agent 00" but Weng Weng's filmography is full of lost and obscure films. The trailer hints that there may have been a prequel also.
Overall the continuity is bad making the plot almost non-essential. The fun comes from the mischievous little hero going to different places, fighting hordes of bad guys doing crazy stunts and shyly flirting with ladies. His trademark move is sliding across the floor and shooting. Sometimes he is coy and playful, sometimes he is a stone-cold killer. The action scenes are surprisingly deadpan low-budget Asian action film style shoot-outs. The English dub is hilarious to listen to with weird dubbing and many absurd lines. The punny title references to "For Your Eyes Only" that was released in the same year, but mostly the plot is kind of pastische of Bond-tropes and of course the soundtrack has Bond-like music cues. This can be classified as a parody but it mainly relies on the silly setting without going overboard with jokes. Surprisingly most characters just ignore Weng Weng's height and he uses his size as his advantage, he can hide easily and a small target is harder to hit. It is like Roger Moore- era Bonds, with tongue-in cheek humour but also with more serious spy-action (albeit campy and cheaply made). This is about as fun as Filipino midgetsploitation can get: cool, absurd, and wild.

Rating: Either Very Good orSo bad it is good

Starring: Weng Weng, Yehlen Catral, Carmi Martin, Anna Marie Gutierrez, Beth Sandoval, Max Alvarado, Mike Cohen, Tony Ferrer, Jim Gaines, Rodolfo 'Boy' Garcia, Romy Nario, Ruben Ramos 
Director: Eddie Nicart


  1. Oli semmoinen minimalistinen aavistus, että tämä pätkä saattaisi olla arvostelusi kohteena. Prof. Kohler näyttää ihan Tom Bosleyltä.

    1. Tästä saankin aikaan Weng Weng minimaratonin (no pun intended) kun löysin tuon jatko-osankin Mill Creekin kokoelmista.

  2. Hienoa! Jos olisin sisällyttänyt putkeeni pastisseja, oli tämäkin harkinnassa.

    1. Virallistenkin Bondien maraton on jo mittava urakka. On näitä Bond-kopioita ihan älytön määrä. Eipä taida olla monta maata maailmassa joissa ei olisi jonkinlaista Bond-parodiaa väännetty.


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