Eye For Film >> Movies >> For Your Height Only (1981) Film Review
For Your Height Only
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Looking for a bit of budget Bond-style action with a small budget and, um, a small hero? For Your Height Only has only one joke, but it also has Weng Weng, who doesn't let his limited height get in the way of beating up the bad guys. As the joke wears thin, the action and the quirky character of a film that aims for the Western and Chinese markets and misses both still manages to make this more watchable than you might expect. There's martial arts action, beautiful women, dangerous men and gadgets galore.
Sometimes exploitation cinema creates better roles for its subjects than they'd ever be likely to get in the mainstream. If you were frustrated by the crude humour surrounding James Bond's tratment of his little person adversary in The Man With The Golden Gun, you'll find that the tables are turned here. Although several people in the audience I saw this with found Weng's height hilarious in itself, the film never laughs at him, and he provides plenty of humour of his own. His character is sufficiently well developed that he becomes easy to identify with (it helps, of course, that most of the supporting characters are paper thin). Though he is sometimes lifted in order to make the stunts work, he has several nifty moves you won't see coming, making this good entertainment for martial arts movie fans. He also has other physical advantages that are inventively used to give this a bit more personality than the average beat-em-up film.
The production quality of this film is pretty terrible; it's clear that most of it was shot using single takes, with the editor just patching it together as best possible so that there are clearly bits missing. In places we jump straight from one action sequence to another and there really isn't enough plot to hold them together, but the makers probably figured that no-one watches such films for their plots anyway. "It's our job to destroy the forces of good," says one of the self-identified 'baddies' early on, keeping motivations clear and simple. One of his evil colleagues has kidnapped an important scientist and it's up to Agent 00 to free him.
Filipino exploitation cinema never made any secret of its penchant for 'borrowing' from successful foreign films. There are quite hefty borrowings from the Bond theme tune here, and Agent 00 is provided with a range of gadgets that take all the best bits from the Bond films and try to make them cooler - his razor edged hat, for instance, flies by remote control. He also carries a ring that glows in the presence of poison, a nod to Far Eastern tradition that may confuse Western viewers. But for the most part he relies on his wits, his sharp shooting, his love of disco and his apparently irresistible appeal to women.
Although the dialogue in this dubbed version is awful (I can't comment on the original Tagalog but wouldn't hold out much hope), and though the acting is pretty bad too, Weng himself has effortless charm and the film remains entertaining. It's longer than it needs to be and the story is relentlessly predictable, but fans of the genre will consider it a gem.Reviewed on: 15 Aug 2011