Cinophile: FOR Y'UR HEIGHT ONLY

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Let’s talk the worst movie you have ever seen, as in the best worst. Not some dreary drama or utterly jokeless comedy. No, those films that stand alone for their exceptional brand of ridiculous awfulawesomeness.

A few have been covered in this column series, notably the incredibly bad Starcrash. And many will offer some truly astounding cinematic cannonballs, such as Troll 2, Sharknado and that litmus of bad, Plan 9 From Outer Space. Well, consider them all beat by a 3 foot man.

2 feet, 9 inches, to be precise. This is Weng Weng or Agent 00, the most ruthlessly efficient, lady-loving, ass-kicking special agent. Ever. Ever ever. Really, there is nobody in the movie world he couldn’t trump. You’d need an army of Jason Stathams to have any odds going for you.

Agent 00 has several special talents, though few bequeathed by the movie script. Instead many are down to For Y’ur Height Only‘s pure awfulness. For example, Agent 00 frequently gets out of an ambush through the power of editing. Much like a ninja in a bad 80s movie, he appears to teleport when necessary.

Physics is also no match for Agent 00, who can leap from a skyscraper and use an umbrella as a parachute. His smaller size ensures Agent 00 is a stealth master, presumably because nobody bothers to look below the belt. His tiny fists can knock anyone out and he is never bested – even when fighting a warrior brandishing a samurai sword (because Agent 00 has his own, tinier, samurai sword).

Our super agent is also a super lover. Women swoon over him, even when he wears sunglasses that threaten to swallow his face. Fear him, super villians, particularly this film’s antagonist, Mister Giant, and his presumably devastating N-bomb. The movie never explains what the N-bomb is, but obviously Mister Giant and his strange mirror communication system are up to no good.

For Y’ur Height Only was made for the Asian market and became a huge hit, which is not that surprising. Compared to many exploitation films from the era, regardless of where on the planet, this film is production-wise no worse than so many questionable action movies. But the combination of Weng, the stupid plot, the endless editing shortcuts and what turns out to be a looping soundtrack puts this gem completely in a league of its own. Not even an army of Italian rip-off artists could hope to accomplish the same.

Though it was a big hit, the movie and Weng’s career had lapsed into obscurity by the late Eighties. Weng tragically died in the early Nineties forgotten and apparently in poverty. It was only in the 2000s when bad movie fans unearthed For Y’ur Height Only and it quickly rose as the bad movie to beat. The film is held in such high regard that even its IMDB score doesn’t look too negative. That is because it is so bad, it can only deserve a good score.

The real beauty of For Y’ur Height Only is you can start and stop it pretty much anywhere. I have yet to find friends willing to sit through its entirety, so I just take to torturing them for short moment. Simply put it on, skip to a random part, and let it play for a second. Agent 00 will do the rest…

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For Yu’r Height Only was the first of three movies starring Weng Wen as the lead. The diminutive actor, who was less than three feet tall, is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the shortest person to star in a leading role of an action movie. Unfortunately his career had dried up by the late Eighties.
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The movie spawned a sequel, The Impossible Kid of Kung Fu, and was to lead to a third, but that never materialised. Weng Weng went on to star in a Western called D’Wild Wild Weng.
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Weng Weng died in obscurity in the early Nineties. But his work received a resurgence several years later, in particular this classic and including a posthumous documentary about his life. It has since become a celebrated piece of exploitation cinema.
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The martial arts demonstrated by Weng Weng were real styles he was trained in. He also kept close friendships with several top martial arts masters and showed off his skills in the at least eleven films he appeared in.

Cinophile is a weekly feature showcasing films that are strange, brilliant, bizarre and explains why we love the movies.

Last Updated: September 7, 2015

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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