I'm about to pitch a movie that you've either heard of, or will be incredibly angry at yourself for not having heard of and living X number of years in profound ignorance, carrying around an unnameable sadness that could have been lifted from you like so much morning mist if you had heard of this movie. Some people are content to pill-pop themselves into a zombie-like state of pseudo-contentment, heedless to the Black Box warnings on Prozac, but Your Tenebrous Hostess prefers a chemical-free mood lifter. That mood lifter, darlings, is Filipino action-comedy "For Your Height Only," a James Bond spoof starring the startlingly acrobatic little person known as Weng Weng.
I'll offer a brief plot summary before we begin deconstructing the magic of this film: Mysterious supercriminal Mr. Giant is trying to get his hands on the N-Bomb (no really) that has been developed by Professor Kohler and it's up to Agent 00 to save the Professor and bring down Mr. Giant's sex-slaving, drug-dealing, loud-suit-wearing criminal organization. But let's face it--that data is not particularly integral to the enjoyment of this cinematic marvel. In fact, it's best to just sit back, pop open several frosty adult beverages, and just let the cacophony of polyester suits, creative dubbing, and testicular abuse rinse one's eyeballs with excellence.
Let's begin with our star, the man without whom "For Your Height Only" would simply be a story about a regular-sized dude pretending to be a secret agent--poorly. One of the things that struck me about Weng Weng is that he's incredibly nimble. Like, to the point where it's kinda disturbing. It's one thing to watch a man who's trained his entire life in a martial arts discipline kick some serious ass, but it's uniquely humbling to watch a man who's under four feet tall tussle with average-height baddies and look pretty damned competent. Chalk that up to one more reason why I'm pissed I didn't grow up in the circus. Agent 00 runs, flips, and kicks his way through an army of thugs, pausing only to romance ladies and drink from oversized bottles of Pepsi. Now, about that kicking... Agent 00 has rightly determined that his fighting technique can't rely on the kind of balletic leaps and lightning fist-work favored by average-sized martial artists. Nay indeed, friends--Agent 00 knows that a bad guy's Off Switch is located below his navel and between his legs, and there is nary a nutsack that goes unharmed during his mission. If you're the kind of person who finds midgets kicking people in the balls to be funny (and if you're reading this blog, I'M ON TO YOU ALREADY), then "For Your Height Only" is your movie, friend.
Another of Weng Weng's stunts that is repeated throughout this film is a dramatic and speedy across-the-floor slide, accomplished with the assistance of his doubtless-slippery polyester suits and an off-camera shove. I like to think about the production assistant crouching just off screen, holding onto Weng's feet and ready to give him a mighty push while the diminutive star pulls the trigger on his equally-diminutive gun.
Finishing off the stunt-a-palooza, there's a scene in which Weng Weng employs a jet pack to gain access to Mr. Giant's hideout. Just look at that picture! That's a magnificent cherry on the already-overwhelming sundae of this movie.
Agent 00 is a man of action in every possible sense of the cliche. He's not too modest to employ his magical fascination in matters relating to the opposite sex. I am reminded of watching a midget wrestling video I'd rented to watch during a pumpkin-carving party* some number of years ago. In this film, Puppet the Psycho Dwarf proclaims that "every man wants to BE a midget, and every woman wants to FUCK a midget." Perhaps Puppet was referring to the charms of Weng Weng, whose "petite, like a potato" appearance clearly works to his advantage.
*This course of action is NOT recommended for others, as it was only by the grace of some dark deity that none of us lopped off any digits due to lack of attentiveness to our gourd-and-knife-related activities.
I don't want you to think that the success of "For Your Height Only" rests only on Weng Weng's fragile-looking shoulders. The supporting cast is equally ham-tastic, aided by the AMAZING dubbing choices. In what can only be a misguided attempt to differentiate characters, imitations of Peter Lorre, Edward G. Robinson, and various other old-timey faves are brought into play. The costuming plays a crucial role in the overall glee-fest of this movie as well. Just check out the SUIT on the dude in the photo above! That look just commands respect, and to underscore his bad-itude, that character speaks with a pronounced 1930s mobster patois that would make Bugs Bunny arch an eyebrow (if Bug Bunny *had* eyebrows, of course).
I really just can't recommend this movie enough--it's cult status couldn't be MORE merited. If all that hasn't brought a smile to your face, maybe the Flickr gallery of stills from "For Your Height Only" will lift your dour mood.
Extra Special Bonus Awesome! Enjoy "The Weng Weng Rap" by The Chuds: