Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Complete Adventures of Agent 00

Here are two of the oddest film to ever be exported from the Phillipines, "For Your Height Only" and "The Impossible Kid." They chronicle the daring exploits of the shortest spy to ever menace the Forces of Evil, Weng Weng, and they are worthy candidates for any Bad Movie Night line-up (or any film festival organized to spotlight Greatest Movies Starring Midgets).

For Your Height Only (aka "For Y'ur Height Only") (1980)
Starring: Weng Weng and Beth Sandoval
Director: Eddie Nicart
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

When the odds of success appear insurmountable, the Phillipine Secret Agency calls upon their smallest operative--Weng Weng, a three-foot-tall midget codenamed Agent 00 (Weng). But can even Agent 00 rescue an American scientist before the mysterious criminal mastermind Mister Giant forces a kidnapped American scientist to build him a deadly N-bomb? And, more importantly, will the swingin' Weng Weng nail his beautiful collegue, Irma (Sandoval).

"For Your Height Only" is a bizarre, low-budget James Bond spoof that features a tiny midget as the superspy... and he's every bit the lover and fighter that James Bond or Derek Flint are. While that in-and-of-itself is pretty funny, the movie is made all the more hilarious by the obvious budget constraints that result in Mister Giant's enforcers driving around in a VW Bug and Weng Weng's spy gadgets looking like they were made in someone's garage. (The gadgets themselves are hilarious as well, particularly the flying, remote controlled hat with the metal brim.)

Much humor also arises from the way Weng Weng's fantastic track record with the women. His lines may need work, but he's got some sort of magic, because chicks seem to fall into bed with him with very little effort on his part. Maybe, as Irma says at one point, it's because he's "petite, like a potato."

And the potato line is a prime example of another part of this film's hilarity. There is literally not a scene that goes by where a character doesn't utter a nonsense line like that, or some bizarre nonsequitor that will have you wondering if you heard right. (Believe me, you will have heard right.)

As this movie is dubbed from Tagalong into English, I don't know if the dialogue was as crazy in the original version, but it sure is wonderously wacky here. The voice actors are also extremely funny... the Phillipine gangsters have a variety of New York accents, and one sounds like Humphrey Bogard imitating James Cagney doing a spoof of a stereotypical 1920s gangboss. While part of the hilarity of that character comes from the dialogue, most of it comes from the irratic Humphry Bogard impersonation.

The many fight scenes in this film are also hilarious, partly due to their inept staging, but primarly due to do Weng Weng's signature move. He always leads with a cockpunch or a kick to the groin of his foes... and sometimes he stomps on the balls of an already defeated bad guy just for good measure. (And from the "I'm laughing but I shouldn't" department, he often utters a maniacal giggle after killing an enemy, especially if death was initiated with a cockpunch. He's a twisted little freak that Weng Weng.)

Aside from the fact that it features a midget superspy who gets laid more than John Shaft, "For Your Height Only" is remarkable for its soundtrack. I have no idea what the Tagalong theme song is about, but the incidental music echoes both the "James Bond Theme" and the theme song from "For Your Eyes Only" with great effect.

On the downside, this film offers too much of a good thing. Weng Weng's cockpunching gets a bit tiresome after his third run-in with Mister Giant's generic thugs (although things do start to pick up again when he invades the house where everyone is waving swords around for some reason), and as funny as the music is, it too gets old because it seems like only 5-10 minutes of it was written, so we hear the same tune over and over again as the film unfolds.

Still, despite its weaknesses, for "Your Height Only" will enliven any Bad Move Night. In fact, the merrifment that this movie will cause among the viewers might be so extreme that the repetitious parts won't even be noticed, because you will all be too busy trying to catch your breath and wiping tears of laughter from your eyes.

The Impossible Kid (1982)
Starring: Weng Weng, Romy Diaz, Tony Carreon, Ben Johnson, and Lili Vasquez
Director: Eddie Nicaz
Steve's Rating: Six of Ten Stars

When an international terrorist group targets leading Phillipineo industrialists for blackmail and murder, Interpol's smallest operative--the three-foot tall Agent 00 (Weng)--takes on his biggest case.

"The Impossible Kid" is the sequel to "For Your Height Only," a James Bond spoof where the midget actor Weng Weng took on the role of superspy. Here, he is more of a pint-sized action hero, and the film is played in a far more straight fashion. The story is more coherent (even if it features a villain who stole his hood from a Grand Kleegel in the KKK and who communicates with the world via self-destructing TV sets), the fight scenes more varied and better staged--Weng Weng actually seems to be doing Kung Fu instead of just cockpunching bad guys--and Weng Weng's stunts are more impressive. And there's the miniature motorbike he zooms around!

Although I say this fillm is played straight that doesn't mean there are fewer laughs in it than the original. The martial arts scenes are a scream, and Weng Weng outsmarting, beating senseless, or simply killing the various gangsters chasing is equal parts amusing and thrilling at times. The way women continue to want to get get it on with Weng Weng is also hilarious, although he seemed committed to one woman in this film and he is therefore seen to run away from an entire whorehouse compliment of hookers who are lusting for him! (And watch for the "special effect" during the film's climax... it should go down as one of the greatest unintentional hilarious moments in cinematic history,

And then there's the soundtrack music. Weng Weng has his own theme song with lyrics that Shaft would envy, and the recurring action theme within the film echoes the" James Bond Theme", the "Pink Panther Theme", and the "Mission: Impossible Theme" with great and hilarious effect. Never has a composer done so much with so little originality as

Except for that whorehouse scene, and a couple of scenes in bars featuring exotic dancers, this would be a film I think little kids would love. As it stands, it's worth look by adults in search of something weird in the acton movie line, and it's definately a top candidate for a Bad Movie Night line-up.

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