Thursday, May 13, 2010

Film Review: FOR Y'UR HEIGHT ONLY (1981, Eddie Nicart)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 88 minutes.
Tag-line: "Bigger than Goldfinger's finger."
Notable Cast or Crew: Weng Weng.
Best one-liner: "They said they'd peddle my pretty bod as a prostitute."

There are certain things in life that you really have to experience for yourself, and FOR Y'UR HEIGHT ONLY (aka FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY) is certainly one of them. Trying to describe what lies within these hallowed reels would be an act of sheer lunacy, but it's one I shall attempt nonetheless. We're looking at what is ostensibly a parody, but one which is peppered with such deranged non-sequiturs, legendarily bad dubbing, recycled sets (watch the floors), absurd line readings, stilted editing, and inappropriate sexual conduct, that I have no choice but to stand it alongside utterly unaware trashterpieces like ROBOT MONSTER or SLUGS. And true to this film's form, I shall sabotage my own review with arbitrary, mind-blowing happenings and one-liners. "Don't be a nosey Parker, Paco!" Starring the inimitable Weng Weng as "Agent 00," much has been made of the fact that he's the shortest (2'9'') actor to ever star in a martial arts/action picture. "I declare war on that little stinker!" Agent 00 would live on to star in two additional films- AGENT 00 and THE IMPOSSIBLE KID, both of which I have yet to see.
I had been told in advance that, as a self-professed expert on lowblows and brutal-ball squeezing, I would find a lot to enjoy in this film (which is 100% true). I was also told that FOR Y'UR HEIGHT ONLY may very well set a record for 'number of lowblows in a motion picture,' but I have to say that I was slightly disappointed on that count. I mean, we got a James Bond who's 2'9''- he should be smacking people in the (Thunder)balls like every fifteen seconds. Instead, the total for the 88 minute movie was a paltry fourteen lowblows (with thirteen of 'em delivered personally by Weng Weng). By my hypothetical lowblow ideals, there should have been at least 352 occurrences of nuts getting smacked. "You're such a little guy, very petite, like a potato."

I suppose that the plot goes something like this– a criminal empire, led by the mysterious Mabuse-esque Mr. Giant, is selling drugs to children. "I'm gonna introduce you to Mr. Giant- person to person." Through a series of kidnappings and nefarious goings-on, these mafiosos have set a plan in motion to steal the "N-bomb." It's difficult to tell if they're referring to an actual fictitious weapon or if they're making some kind of lexical wisecrack, but these criminal types have endless legions of unbuttoned-Hawaiian shirt-wearing henchmen who are all dubbed by the same actor, apparently doing an Edward G. Robinson impersonation.
"Get rid of him- poimenently!" They are sort of led by a middle-man who constantly makes odd, groan-inducing sports analogies, and who can only be described as the Filipino Red Foxx.
"The forces of good are our enemy, they must be exterminated– I mean lethally!" Associates contact Mr. Giant via a shiny lite-up mirror which certainly recalls the preferred form of holo-communication in ROBOT MONSTER.
Said lite-up mirror is kept on a shelf and surrounded by what can only be assumed to be a collection of Mr. Giant's bowling trophies.

Agent 00, possessing a relentless giggle worthy of Tommy Wiseau and who's clearly been dubbed by someone holding their nose, is sent in to put a stop to them. Agent 00 frequently mentions that he's small, in case we've forgotten. "Ohhh, my little head." "I've got to walk on my little feet." He wears these little go-go boots, too, which is peculiar, because they seem designed to increase his height in a film that was entirely written, designed, and marketed around the fact that they had the shortest action star of all time.
Outfitted with gadgets by his own personal "Q" in what is likely one of the most hilarious and excruciatingly-paced scenes in bad movie history,
he proceeds to lay waste to all organized crime in the islands, frequently sneaking up behind henchmen and touching them on the rear- a vicious attack which results in them falling from their perches and getting their asses kicked.
His secondary attack is launching himself across a room, sliding across the freshly lemon oil-polished hard wood floor, and blasting away the bad guys before they even know what the hell just happened.
All manner of random events ensueth. A squad of men are frightened by a levitating hat.
"He's made a monkey out of the forces of evil, he's as slippery as an eel!" A hanky saves Weng from a poison gas attack. He leaps from a skyscraper, using an umbrella as a parachute. He checks himself out in a mirror and waves at the devilishly handsome man he sees within. There's x-ray glasses, elaborate neck scarves, pie fights, knee trips, zip lines off Ferris Wheels, and a shirtless Weng Weng sex scene, which is nothing but utterly macabre. "Bare your bod!" All of this is accompanied by straight-up purloined John Barry 'James Bond' music (and a healthy dose of muffled basement disco on the side).
Guess it was too under the radar for a lawsuit? Perhaps parody laws are stronger in the Philippines? Who knows? "Send Marilyn barrelin'!"

The denouement involves a secret island, a surprise reveal of Mr. Giant's identity, and endless, endless piles of slain henchmen (who are slaughtered in threes, because otherwise it would take up too much screen time). A water slide's involvement is key. We conclude on a somber note, with a graveside visit that's awkwardly and abruptly downbeat- especially so, because the name on the grave quite obviously does not match the name of the deceased character in question.

So you stumble away from this film, surrounded by empty Schlitz cans and a half-eaten bag of Combos sort of thinking, What now?... Well, clearly, THE IMPOSSIBLE KID. But in all, it's quite an experience, and one which I wholeheartedly recommend. Four stars.



-Sean Gill



9 comments:

J.D. said...

This sounds like a truly surreal film of truly epic proportions and probably a damn good drinking game ta boot.

Every time someones get hit with a low blow take a shot...

GuyR said...

Oh yes, this is some good shit indeed, and I enjoyed the review!

Did you know there's a third Weng-Weng film? It's called D'Wild Wild Weng, and is extremely rare due to the fact that it wasn't even released. It somehow found its way to public. I saw it, and it's really fucking weird.

Here's a review on my favorite french website for weird movies :
http://www.nanarland.com/Chroniques/Main.php?id_film=dwildwildweng

Sean Gill said...

J.D.,

A drinking game would surely not be out of the question, and further discourse could be fueled by personal interpretation (i.e., 'Was that a flurry of kicks landing on the upper thigh, or a bona fide low blow?').

(Coming soon: a review of Leo Fong in the Crown International classic, LOW BLOW).

Guy,

Thanks- and wow, D'WILD WILD WENG looks to be a real trip. i definitely need to catch a few more of these Weng Weng classics.

Patrick said...

Just to clear the air - Weng Weng was featured in seven movies, in total.

Anyway, great to see one of my favorite movies on my absolute favorite movie blog (truth)!

GuyR said...

Seven Weng-Weng movies? Oh snap!
I think they're all rare gems though, For Y'Ur Height Only being the most well known.
So every "new" Weng-Weng is pure gold.

Sean Gill said...

Patrick,

Thank you for the high praise! How many films in the Weng Weng canon have you had the pleasure of viewing?

And while it seems Agent 00 only officially lived on for three movies, it certainly looks as if Weng's entire filmography might as well be Agent 00 movies. I certainly look forward to seeing more.

TimTE01 said...

It's funny that you review this because when I posted my review a few months back, Carl ILHM congratulated me on being 'the only person to see this movie ever.' As he may see now, that's not entirely true.

I didn't realize that Weng had so many films. I knew about this one and 'The Impossible Kid.' I know that there's some movie where he karate fights a chick while training, which might be a third film.

For a little guy, he sure has a pretty big filmography.

Patrick said...

Sean Gill,

Sadly, I've only been able to get my hands on For Y'ur Height Only, Agent 00 and The Impossible Kid. I find it very sad that For Y'ur Height Only is the only one available through "legitimate" means. My shelves are calling desperately for some Weng Weng. I cannot put into words just how much I love him. I wish that I could be his best friend.

Anyway, you're welcome! It really is a great blog. I think we look for the exact same things in movies. If it weren't for your blog, I never would have seen The Cat, which I absolutely loved. For that alone, I am eternally grateful.

Sean Gill said...

Tim,

Well, hopefully Weng's fans will increase exponentially and we'll see greater availability of his work.
"For a little guy, he sure has a pretty big filmography." Ha- very nice.

Patrick,

My shelves are certainly calling out for more Weng Weng also. And it wouldn't have to be movies, necessarily, either. How bout some Weng Weng music– according to wikipedia:

"In 1990 he was awarded a special citation for services to the Filipino film industry from first lady Imelda Marcos, and joined her at the presentation in a special karaoke "duet" version of "My Way". An unauthorized recording of their performance was later released on bootleg cassette and sold 200,000 copies."

My mind is kinda blown from that one. And I'm glad you enjoyed THE CAT. It's truly essential viewing.