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Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Low-Kicking High-Kicking Double Feature
A dwarf flying over the jungle with a jet pack strapped to his back. Topless women playing tennis in slow motion. A kung-fu brawl against a charging bull. Whenever you think you’ve seen everything film can offer, something like Mondo Macabro’s new DVD release of FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY and CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER comes along, leaving you with your mouth open and your faith in humanity restored.

It’s a sure bet you haven’t seen anything like FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY. Produced in the Philippines, this action-packed thriller is fairly routine in every regard except one, but it boasts one heck of a ringer. Playing the leading role of Agent 00 is Weng Weng, a 2’9” dynamo completely devoid of acting ability, although I challenge you to take your eyes off of him. Armed with an array of crime-busting gadgets (including x-ray specs!) that would make the head of Q Branch fall down laughing, Agent 00 challenges 007 in the spying and loving departments, bouncing around Manila in search of a scientist named Dr. Von Kohler who has created a powerful new bomb. Von Kohler has fallen into the clutches of an international crime syndicate led by the mysteriously unseen Mr. Giant, who unleashes a never-ending barrage of beret-wearing flunkies with bull’s-eyes painted on their chests to assassinate the Mighty Mite.

Let’s face it — it may not be politically correct, but a pint-sized, kung-fu kicking superspy is entertaining. In the hands of Weng Weng, armed with a bizarre hairline and an eye-burning array of white leisure suits, FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY comes to life in ways nobody could imagine. You really can’t call yourself a well-rounded film fan until you’ve seen Weng Weng kicking ass and taking names, using his powerful kung fu to smash the testicles of his enemies. Whether he’s using his mighty midget mojo to sex up hot Filipinas or mowing down dozens of henchmen with his deadly trick pistola, Weng Weng makes Sean Connery and Steve McQueen, in their primes, look like pantywaists. Let me put it this way. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who have experienced the awe and mystery of Weng Weng and those who have not. You don’t want to be someone who has not.

As if one insane Asian action movie isn’t enough, Mondo Macabro tests our endurance by including a second feature, Hong Kong’s CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER. Directed by Bruce Le, this romp is set in Spain, Hong Kong and Macao, and stars Le and American-born Richard Harrison as globetrotting CIA agents Wong Leung and Richard Cannon. Assigned to retrieve a stolen serum that can cause mass sterility in the world’s male population, the two men attack their assignment doing what they do best. For Le, that means showing off his sweet kung fu skills, taking on opponents that include ubiquitous Chinese actor Bolo Yeung (BLOODSPORT), former pepla muscleman Brad Harris and an angry bull, which Le dispatches with an homage to Sonny Chiba’s THE STREET FIGHTER.

Meanwhile, Harrison’s specialty appears to be taking off his shirt and flexing his mustache. Director Le introduces him in an amazing scene that finds Cannon lounging around his estate, surrounded by beautiful nude women who swim, shower and even play tennis… in slow motion. Cannon’s lovemaking prowess makes James Bond look like Jughead Jones. And if all this isn’t crazy enough, look for Jack Klugman in a silent cameo that’s so bewildering, I’d be willing to bet that to this day, he has no idea he’s even in the movie.

FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY and CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER are silly, no doubt about it. But you have to admire their unpredictability and willingness to present material this absurd. Both movies will quite likely give your DVD remote’s rewind button a major workout as you think to yourself, “Did I just see what I think I saw?” If you think you saw a disco-dancing dwarf in a karate fight with a bunch of drunks, the answer is, “Hell yes, and you want to see it again.”

Posted by Marty at 4:43 PM CST
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