A 1979 Filipino movie filmed on a zero budget in Tagalog, and dubbed into English? Can it be worth watching? Absolutely.
It’s about a small secret agent named 00 – really small – a dwarf about 3 feet tall, named Weng Weng. Now, I haven’t consulted the Guinness records people, but I think it’s a fair guess that he’s the shortest secret agent of all time, unless you count Tom Cruise in those Mission Impossible films.
The budget is so small in this movie that they couldn’t afford enough guns, so they have one bad guy point an umbrella at the l’il nipper, and the sound effects guy adds a gunshot noise to the sound track. 00 then uses this same umbrella to float down from a multi-story building, ala Mary Poppins.
Anyway, unlike James Bond, Weng Weng gets his assignment and his gadgets from the same guy, presumably because the Filipino Secret Service can’t afford to have two separate guys do this, or perhaps because there are not enough letters in Tagalog to support having both an M and a Q.
This is one of the great scenes. The M and Q guy, like all the characters in the movie, speaks in 1930’s American gangster slang, and he gives the l’il guy his gizmos with some interesting twists. And, bizarrely enough, he keeps complimenting 00 on his listening skills.
First, there is a radio controlled hat which looks just like one of those red, white and blue trimmed straw boaters that they wear on the floor of political conventions. Well, the “secret” agent looks mighty dapper in this, let me tell you. There isn’t any explanation of why a secret agent would need a radio controlled Maurice Chevalier hat, but the bad guys seem to be deathly afraid of it. Perhaps there is the ever-present fear that he might break into “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” in his squeaky voice. Of course, if that was the plan, the Agency could have saved a few bucks, since this tactic would be just as effective with a non remote controlled hat.
Then there is a fountain pen which kills. “Of course. It isn’t any good if you need to write with it, but we can’t have everything.”
Then there is a ring which can detect poison. It is made out of gold because the service couldn’t afford platinum. Times are tough at The Secret Agency. They couldn’t afford any marketing guys to create a catchy name for them, so they’re just The Secret Agency.
Luckily, the bad guys are no better off, and have to drive Volkswagens. This is only one sign that their Evil Organization isn’t doing that well. I’m pretty sure it’s because their plan is to sell heroin to every sandbox and kindergarten in the country. Well, that’s certainly evil enough, but it doesn’t sound real profitable. I’m not sure if the little 1979 Filipino kindergarten kids had all that much disposable income, so Evil Organization’s gross sales must be pretty low, and I think they can forget about floating that IPO. Either that, or the bad guys have priced the heroin so low that they can’t make a profit from it. Either way, it isn’t much of a plan.
Sample dialogue * “why, he’s making a monkey out of the forces of evil” * “alright sister, freeze, the jig is up” * “Oh, my little head” * (about a police photographer photographing a crime scene) “I wonder if she does Bar Mitzvahs”