Agent 003 1/2 (1981)
By: Devon B. on April 29, 2014 | Comments
Film Art | All Regions, PAL | 4:3 | English DD 1.0 | 87 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Eddie Nicart
Starring: Weng Weng, Yehlen Catral, Carmi Martin, Anna Marie Gutierrez, Beth Sandoval, Mike Cohen
Screenplay: Cora Caballes
Country: Philippines
Andrew Leavold recently premiered The Search for Weng Weng in Perth as part of Monsterfest, but because I live on the other side of the country I could sadly not attend. The documentary is now making the rounds at festivals across the globe which has caused a postponement of its Melbourne debut. While I'm thrilled that the doco is getting rightly deserved attention I still really want to see it so this delay was bittersweet news for me. To alleviate my agony, I decided I had to get the German DVD of For Y'ur Height Only and partake of its special features, hoping that would tide me over until The Search for Weng Weng makes it to Melbourne later this year.

The DVD cover title is Agent 003 ½, but the title card for the movie reads For Y'ur Height Only. The German dub of the film also clearly identifies Weng Weng as Agent 00, not 003 ½, so for such an accurate and punctual people the Germans have played it fast and loose with the name of one of the most important pictures in cinema history.

In the movie a doctor who developed a formula for an N Bomb is visiting the Philippines because he thinks that's the country that should be trusted with a weapon that could end the world. He is, naturally, abducted by the notorious Mr Giant. The only man who can help is the world's greatest spy, Agent 00 - also called Weng or even Wank depending on who's talking. Weng Weng takes a break from his usual gig of rescuing damsels in distress for just long enough to save the planet, a mission that culminates with him squaring off with the fearsome Mr Giant.

While its sequels contain my favourite Weng Weng moments, there is no question that For Y'ur Height Only is the superior film in the greatest trilogy of all time. It's the most cohesive movie of the bunch, and it still manages to squeeze in all sorts of crazy shit. The English dub really ads something special to this one, brimming with hilarious and surreal dialogue delivered by cartoon characters and clichés. The most amazing character, unfortunately relegated to a bit part, sounds like Peter Lorre trying to do an impression of a Mexican accent. Weng Weng's voice is higher in this instalment, and while I dig the Toxic Avenger-esque tones Weng Weng produced later on I can't deny that his voice is hysterical in this one. Any time Agent 00 speaks there's opportunity for a laugh, and when it's been awhile since the viewer's heard him talk a caught-off-guard chuckle's almost guaranteed.

The movie isn't just about its dub, as there is all sorts of other awesomeness on display, mostly supplied by Weng Weng. His hair is spectacular here, and makes me wish Steven Seagal would play Weng Weng in a biopic just to see Stevie's "hair" re-crafted into the world's best hairpiece. Weng Weng's natural locks may be hard for even the most talented wigmaker to match, but Weng Weng has a lot more to offer than just his hair. Weng Weng gets to use downsized spy gadgets that would turn Bond, James Bond green with envy, but the best fun comes from his martial arts expertise. His style would presumably be called Nuts and Butts, with many a villain feeling his fury in their tender nether regions. For Y'ur Height Only also features Weng Weng at his most impishly charming, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that makes his seduction skills realistic. His spy skills are somewhat dubious too, given his penchant for introducing himself to ladies with the line, "I'm Secret Agent 00."

It may be a mystery how Agent 00 is a secret agent given he can't keep that fact secret during brief encounters, but what's not a mystery is that For Y'ur Height Only is delirious fun from start to finish. It isn't just a milestone in film, it will go down in history books as the place that repositioned the potato from a mere food into the world's most practical measurement device. If ever a film should be celebrated and revered, it's this one.
The Disc
Film Art haven't magically made For Y'ur Height Only look amazing, and I think the DVD utilises the same print used for the US Mondo Macabro release. However, when I popped in that version I found the Film Art image was smoother, with less artefacts and motion blur, at least in the sequences I sampled. The colours are stronger on the Film Art DVD, but that also leads to saturation, so it's harder to pick a clear winner on that front. The movie still doesn't look good by any standard, but it is a three decade old Filipino spy spoof so that's to be expected. The German dub is louder than the English dub, but both tracks seemed of a similar quality. Both tracks have some distortion, but that would be an issue with the source materials and not this transfer. Tragically for the Germans, their dub didn't seem anywhere near as wacky to me when I sampled it, with some of the more ridiculous dialogue in the English dub swapped to more straightforward lines. Unless the humour was too subtle for my rudimentary German skills, the German speaking audience is missing out.

The feature is presented full frame, but there is a cropped widescreen version in the extras. The widescreen version doesn't allow swapping of the audio tracks, but it can be watched in English if the audio is set to English before the widescreen version of the film is started.

The extra that prompted me to order this disc is the 32 minute featurette "Die Weng Weng Story," which is a collection of Schlock Treatment instalments featuring Leavold. These were originally introductions to the three English dubbed Weng Weng movies, but also offer an overview of Weng Weng and his films and a tantalising clip from The Search for Weng Weng. This featurette is in English with hardcoded German subs. Also included are a photo gallery, English language trailers for For Y'ur Height Only and The Impossible Kid, and Leavold's article The Way of Weng translated into German. The English text is not available on the DVD, but you can choose to have the text read out to you by Charles Rettinghaus, the guy who dubs Jean-Claude Van Damme in German.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
I wouldn't say this is the definitive For Y'ur Height Only release because I'd be really keen to get an edition that has the original Tagalog audio with English subtitles so I could compare that to the crazy English dub. A featurette about the English dub would be good, and I'd also love it if Leavold recorded a fan commentary Bey Logan style, so there is room for improvement. The question is whether there will ever be a company with more money than sense that will ever make that dream a reality. Until that fantasy is realised, this DVD is a step in the right direction.
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