THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG (2013)
Directed by Andrew Leavold
English and Filipino Language with English Subtitles
Australian cult cinema buff Andrew Leafold has spent the last seven years making documentary THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG in an attempt to uncover the true story and life of the Filipino actor known as Weng Weng, who starred in a handful of movies in the Philippines as Agent 00 – a 2 foot 9 inches, Filipino James Bond. Leafold and team travel numerous times to the Philippines to try and find out who Weng Weng actually was, where he disappeared to after the movies and to speak to those who knew and worked with him on his films such as the popular For Y’ur Height Only and The Impossible Kid.
For fans of B-movie and cult cinema, THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG is a must-watch documentary. I’ll confess that I’ve never come across Weng Weng before this film, but now I’m rather eager to see some of his movies. Despite my lack of previous knowledge, Andrew Leafold has done an amazing job of educating the viewer about Weng Weng’s movies through splycing in numerous clips from Weng Weng’s films into the documentary and interviewing a colourful bunch of people including many who worked with Weng Weng and those who knew him personally. The hunt for Weng Weng also depicts where the Philippines were at during the 80’s in terms of their approach to movies and how they were influenced by Hollywood, an aspect which film fans will definitely find interesting.
The documentary is both entertaining and enlightening through its 1 hour and 30 mins running time, with its occasional voice-overs from Andrew to put the current visual into context. Old photos of Weng Weng are discovered, along with information about films Weng Weng starred in which Andrew didn’t know existed. A thorough investigative but unintrusive piece from a genuine fan is something we as cinema fans can relate to and Andrew executes it with such style and respect that he creates something to be cherised in cinema history – a film that documents an elusive actor’s life and the impression he made on his peers. Andrew’s hard work in discovering all he can about Weng Weng is evident as he manages to speak to co-stars, directors and even Weng Weng’s brother, and everyone Andrew meets speaks about how Weng Weng would light up a room with his energy.
After watching a documentary about the miniature actor, who performed all his own stunts, you’ll be tempted to hunt down some of his movies, particularly For Y’ur Height Only, if you haven’t seen them already. Surprisingly, the 2 disc DVD release of THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG contains the full film of D’Wild Wild Weng on the second disc along with a music video and image gallery so both newbies and fans can own and enjoy a Weng Weng movie on DVD.
A terrific, in-depth documentary with previously unattainable content, THE SEARCH FOR WENG WENG is a must-watch for all fans of cult cinema.