For Y’ur Height Only (1981)

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In some ways, For Y’ur Height Only is ahead of its time. Produced in the Philippines and featuring an awful English dub, the film parodies the absurdity of the James Bond film franchise, much in the same way Austin Powers did a few years later. But in this farcical Bond adventure, Mini-Me is the star. Weighing in at 2’9″, actor Weng Weng plays Agent 00, the ass-punching (literally), gadget-toting ladies man. Funny though it is, this film fails as a parody. There are a few absurd references to the source material, but the film boils down to a series of long gunfight and martial arts sequences, one after another, and it lacks jokes. The scenes are hilarious in an ’80s action movie kind of way, which wasn’t always the intention.

weng-weng-shoot-oSomeone must have lubed those floors

There are no characters in this film. Or, more accurately, every person who could be a character is a one-dimensional plot device. Agent 00 beats people up and then meets all the ladies. He’s unstoppable and is never really put in harm’s way. His partner, Irma (Beth Sandoval), begins as a double agent and ends as a double agent. There’s no depth there. The villains are evil for evil’s sake. Early on, one of them even says, and this is a direct quote, “the forces of good are our sworn enemy.” Because people talk like that.

As far as plot goes, the story begins straightforward enough, before becoming an incoherent mess. After a sinister talking mirror called ‘Mr. Giant’ kidnaps a scientist, he steals the plans for a destructive device known as the N-Bomb. Agent 00 is hired to retrieve it. He’s given a handful of impossible gadgets, including sunglasses that can see through women’s clothing and a ring that can detect whether or not your bottle of coke has been poisoned. He teams up with Irma, an undercover agent who has already infiltrated the evil gang. After a few shootouts, the evil gang, led by Jack (Ruben Ramos) figure out Irma is ratting them out. They capture Irma and hold her hostage, using her as bait to trap Agent 00.

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Right, Irma… Wait, who?

But Agent 00 barely notices she’s gone, moving on to make out with almost every girl he comes across. He never mentions her name again and starts chasing down other members of the gang one at a time. He must kill Jack to get to Cobra. Then he must kill Cobra to get to Tattoo. Tattoo to get to Mr. Kaiser. And finally, Kaiser leads him to Mr. Giant. It’s like progressing to different bosses stages in a video game. And after seeing so many long fight sequences, the climactic scene with Mr. Giant is surprisingly short (in more ways than one) and a little unsatisfying as a result.

The exact purpose of the N-Bomb is never stated, so it’s hard to tell why we should be concerned that it’s been stolen. The scientist who created it is kidnapped while bringing it to the country, to ‘give to the government.’ So he has taken the bomb he made overseas to give to political leaders? Sounds pretty suspect. He could easily be just as villainous as his kidnappers. And once they have the scientist, they never actually use the N-Bomb. Instead they focus on moving drugs by baking it into loaves of bread. What does this have to do with the bomb plot? We may never know, but at least we get this timeless loaf of campy dialogue from it:

Untitled11“There’s a lot of dough in this dough.”

Agent 00 is definitely in the wrong line of work. He’s a terrible secret agent. While he does use his size to his advantage in firefights and for sneaking around, he could never execute any covert espionage missions because his looks are too obvious. As a spy you would need to be able to blend in with a crowd and disappear at a moments notice. The villains are always spotting Agent 00 because he looks so unique. It’s not just his size that should disqualify him from service, but his overall incompetence as well. He can’t keep the secret in secret agent. When he’s stranded and a civilian offers him a ride, he introduces himself as Secret Agent 00. What, no false identity? What if she worked for the villains? She was driving the same way and that’s where you were headed!

Untitled8Ah, the subtlety.

One interesting pattern is how regularly Agent 00 ends up in a situation where he offers to help a woman he’s just met by defeating the gang she’s in debt to. Then later when he infiltrates the wrongdoers’ lair, he brings the woman along and has her doing just as much fighting and killing as he is. In order to protect them he leads them into some extremely dangerous situations. I guess this is good in that it subverts the ‘damsel in distress’ stereotype, but if they’re so powerful why do they wait until 00 is around before taking action? Also, in almost every case these women will use him as a weapon in an elongated fight scene, hurling his body at people without his consent within minutes of meeting him.

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Do you fist fight on the first date?

Then there’s the music. It sounds to me like they lifted the James Bond theme directly, then decided to play it on repeat for an hour and a half. Those same four notes are on a loop in every action sequence, and this entire film is just a series of action sequences interspersed with bits of exposition.

Overall, this film does provide a great viewing experience that has to be seen to believed. There’s action, adventure, romance and countless laughs to be had. And isn’t that what a movie should be? I’ll leave you with this; the most fun sequence of events in the film. A cornered Agent 00’s harrowing escape from a hotel balcony.

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Move over Mary Poppins.


 

 

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