Reliving the Cult of Weng Weng: For Your Height Only

A splash page from Ronald Tan's Weng Weng comic

The recent Aussie documentary on 70’s Pinoy B-movies, Machete Maidens Unleashed, may be just the tip of the Weng Weng iceberg.

Weng Weng, the three foot tall primordial dwarf turned film star who passed away in 1992 at the age of 34, was a hit Internet meme way back in 2007. But the recent documentary’s footage on the Weng Weng phenomenon may still cause a resurgence, and even an inflow back into pop culture. After all, internet memes have been known to sometimes invade the real world – just like planking.

Hardcore Aussie Weng Weng fan Andrew Leavold (of the late lamented Brisbane-based Trash Video store may still end up releasing his long awaited The Search for Weng Weng documentary, which has been in the works for years.

In the meantime, there’s a local Weng Weng comic out by indie comic artist Ronald Tan. Two issues are out so far (issues available at Comic Odyssey in Robinson’s Galleria).

And the outrageous Bond spoof “For Y’ur Height Only” released to the international market in the aftermath of Imelda Marcos’ disastrous Manila International Film Festival in 1982 and dubbed in a bizarre sort of English, continues to regale the world through DVD releases and YouTube clips.

Here’s a great review fron the Cult Reviews site.

Spurred on by the undying cascade of Weng Weng internet memes, I finally got my hands on a copy of “For Y’ur Height Only” and despite my better judgement, found myself ROTLMAO.

The international version has to be seen and heard to believe – the dialogue is out of this world, and we are presented with the spectacle of Max Alvardo sounding like Joe Pesci’s pinoy uncle, spouting out lines like a gangster from New Jersey.

This reader review posted on Rotten Tomatoes, sums it up nicely:

Posted by SteveMiller November 21, 2007

When the odds of success appear insurmountable, the Philippine 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 colleague, Irma (Beth 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 Tagalog 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 Bogart 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 Bogart 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 Tagalog 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 Movie Night. In fact, the merriment 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.


A video review from “Babette Bombshell”: 


The original trailer of this certified cinema classic:

One thought on “Reliving the Cult of Weng Weng: For Your Height Only

  1. Sad to say the first time I saw a Weng-Weng film was in Sydney, where I won a double-pass from some music paper. It was a double feature of For Your Height Only and The Impossible Kid. The voice acting is wildy all over the place, and was the funniest thing I found. Yo La Tengo was playing that night in the venue beside the cinema. But Weng Weng was definitely *way* cooler.

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