Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.
“Conquering the Wrath of Rage” marks the fourth entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which is the second incarnation of the franchise.
“Conquering the Wrath of Rage” was directed, produced, and co-written by Willie Aames, who once again stars as Bibleman. The other credited writer is one Greg Perkins, who I wasn’t able to dig up any information on.
The villain of “Conquering the Wrath of Rage” is El Furioso, who is yet another antagonist portrayed by Brian Lemmons, marking his fourth straight appearance on the show. He is once again accompanied by his self-aware, possibly stoned henchman, Ludicrous. The evil computer, L.U.C.I., also pops up again as a supporting villain.
Bibleman has a new partner for “Conquering the Wrath of Rage” in the rookie Cypher, who is introduced as a bit of a tech wizard, and is credited with designing the new Bibleman armor. He winds up hanging around for a long time in the series as I recall, becoming a bit of a staple. I’m not really sure what happens to Coats, the previous sidekick, as the point is glossed over pretty quickly. It is actually somewhat implied that the split wasn’t exactly pleasant, which might allude to some tensions behind the scenes.
The story of “Conquering the Wrath of Rage” focuses on a new villain named El Furioso, who comes up with a chemical that causes uncontrollable fits of rage. This is used both on local children and on Bibleman to disastrous effect. Bibleman must confront his own anger and learn to trust the people around him in order to win the day and defeat El Furioso.
The episode begins with Bibleman fighting a group of really racist caricature villains, whose lines are subtitled despite the fact that they are speaking clear English. If the exaggerated, generic Asian accents don’t get the point across, the reference to Jackie Chan certainly does. Bibleman also, in keeping with tradition, straight murders one of them in a fit of rage after they corner Cypher. However, this time his actions are actually addressed, as the theme of the episode deals with rage and violence.
“Violence never got anyone anywhere”
-Bibleman, noted vigilante murderer
“Conquering the Wrath of Rage” features another notable upgrade for the Bibleman outfit, and introduces what is probably the most recognizable version of the cowl. This version is far more musclebound than the previous versions, and sets the precedent for future changes to the outfit as the series goes on.
“A man in spandex is no laughing matter”
“Conquering the Wrath of Rage” also introduces the use of lower third text gags, which continues throughout the rest of the series. These are usually a bit funnier than the comedy in the dialogue, because they don’t rely on the actors having any kind of comedic timing.
El Furioso is probably the most amusing performance from Brian Lemmons so far in the show. He feels like he must be offensive somehow, but I’m not really sure to who? His name would make you think of some sort of Mexican stereotype, but it doesn’t really play that way, apart from using the occasional Spanish phrase. He is somewhat effeminate, but also occasionally drifts into what sounds like a bad imitation of a Jewish person, making for a really perplexing mixture of stereotypes.
As is tradition for the series, El Furioso suffers an awful demise in the conclusion. Bibleman uses some sort of divine force field that forces Furioso’s beam weapon to backfire, which leaves him dissolved into a nasty, green, gooey mess. In keeping with the theme of the episode, Bibleman doesn’t directly strike him down, but he certainly gets very dead. Bibleman’s reaction to this horrific loss of life is, quote:
“Jeepers, what a mess.”
Overall, “Conquering the Wrath of Rage” is a solid recommendation from me as an entertainingly awful entry into the saga of Bibleman. It makes for a pretty good introduction into the series: the cheese factor is to the max, and the comedic writing is actually entertaining at times, and completely baffling and tone deaf at others.