Gems ‘n’ Junk From the Cult Cache: For Your Height Only (1981)
Gems ‘n’ Junk From the Cult Cache combs the vast wastelands of cinema history to unearth flicks buried beneath the surface of popular entertainment. In this instalment: For Your Height Only.
He’s smart, he’s sexy, he’s dangerous…he’s 3 feet tall! So espouses the sell-the-sizzle sentence stamped across the DVD cover of Fillipino director Eddie Micart’s unashamedly trashy 1981 James Bond spoof For Your Height Only, originally released during the same year as For Your Eyes Only.
If you want to get technical the diminutive star of the show, Ernesto de la Cruz, aka Weng Weng, actually reached 2 feet 9 inches, just that wee bit closer to the ground. That makes the little mean-ass probably the shortest martial arts “star” of all time. Star is a generous label given his celebrity was mostly confined to his home country and his shtick a borderline carnival act, a two trick pony (martial arts and height) with a heavy reliance on his physicality.
However, on that latter point, the same logic can surely be applied to actors in Hollywood and across the world who proudly exhibit round jugs and tight abs, maybe a Kodak smile with that thing called acting flung together as, if not an after thought, certainly a second priority.
Is a film about a midget James Bond — he’s called 00, and he means biz just as much as any Moore or Connery — any more ‘exploitative’ than a dumb audience pandering rom-com? If so, who does it exploit?
Everyone, probably. Certainly there is an overarching sense of wrongness that hovers like dark celluloid matter over the film’s amusingly stodgy action scenes, in which our vertically challenged hero defeats villain after villain mostly by kicking them in the nads or jumping on them from high places.
The wrongness cranks to 11 when the script insists on feeding Weng lady man status, 00 bedding easy women or at least holding their hands and delivering a fresh line or two with a leery come-to-my-hotel-room-for-miniature-bar-fridge-drinks smirk slapped across his wee countenance.
Rumor has it Weng Weng died after drinking 12 beers; his doll sized body, so the legend goes, couldn’t handle all that yeast and hops. Who knows how long he could have lasted in the bedroom, or how intense, for that matter, his training workouts were — but no matter, relegate those quizzes to the dust bins of history. Women don’t have to have a small person fetish in For Your Eyes Only — they flock to agent 00 like seagulls to a chip, and when the luvin’ scenes kick in vibes get weird, funky weird, but weird nonetheless, and always quickly, mercifully return to a boppy tunes and whizzy action.
What little story there is involves criminals who hide dough in dough — money in bread — and a villain called Mr Giant’s nefarious ploy to use the ‘N-bomb’ to take the world hostage, a plan presumably hatched with a pinky inserted into mouth, strokable cat on lap, a pit of hungry alligators milling below a trap door.
The James Bond parodies are never first priority, but zesty dressing on the salad. They include a 007 soundtrack rip-off and inventions from a Q-like character such as a remote controlled spinning hat and glasses that enable 00 to view people naked. Like beer googles, but better, or far worse, depending on the situation…
For Your Height Only’s ludicrously bad English overdub only enhances the film’s clumsy cultish appeal, and audiences who know what they’re getting into will lap up the dialogue and one-liners.
“He’s as slippery as an eel. How the hell do you hold onto an eel?”
“I declare war on that little stinker!”
And best of all: “you know sex is like tequila. You take one sip and you’re a goner.”
I’m sorry….WHAT? Perhaps that last one was lost in translation, but ’tis a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the cult cache. Or in this case, in the junky jungle of a midget James Bond Filipino flick. KA-POW!
Or make that…