- Director : Elizabeth Banks
- Actors : Ray Liotta, Keri Russell, Margo Martindale
- Dubbed: : French, Spanish
- Subtitles: : English, Spanish
- Studio : Studio Distribution Services
- MPAA rating : R (Restricted)
- Number of discs : 2
- Media Format : Subtitled, Blu-ray
- Run time : 96 minutes
- Release date : April 18, 2023
Some films are so high concept that the title tells you everything you need to know about the plot. For some reason, several of these films involve animals, including Snakes on a Plane, Sharknado, and now Cocaine Bear. Although Cocaine Bear differs from the rest because it is based on true events, this does not mean it is any more grounded in realism. This is completely campy cinema, and that is entirely the point.
The premise is as simple as the title would suggest, following the carnage that results from a black bear ingesting cocaine lost in the forests of Georgia in 1985. The drugs belong to St. Louis drug kingpin Syd White (Ray Liotta), who sends his son Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) and henchmen Daveed (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) to retrieve the bags after they are thrown from a plane during a crash. A local detective named Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) also sets out to find the drugs after the body of the pilot lands in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Before either cop or criminal can reach the cocaine, they are found by a 500-pound black bear, who develops a taste for the drug and becomes increasingly aggressive. The wild animal attacks a pair of hikers before her attention towards a pair of children who skipped school. Single mother Sari (Keri Russell) sets out to find the kids, joined by an ill-equipped forest ranger (Margo Martindale) and a bumbling wildlife activist (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). Along with the characters battling each other over the drugs, there is the constant threat of the bear attacking.
Director Elizabeth Banks puts most of the film’s emphasis on gruesome kills and comedically over-the-top performances, which is the best approach for a film without much of a plot. Rather than a complex story or well-developed characters, Cocaine Bear is a premise that is used for jokes and violence. That seems to be the only point. And judging by the brief moment of popularity the film saw in theaters, it seems to have been enough to entice audiences. At the same time, I’m not certain it will be enough to motivate audiences to purchase the film for multiple viewings.
The Blu-ray package for Cocaine Bear also comes with a DVD and digital copy of the film. The special features on the discs include an alternate ending, which brings back a character that was heavily implied to be dead after a gruesome scene within the film. There is also a collection of additional footage, including deleted scenes, extended scenes, and even a gag reel of the cast having fun with the film shoot.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10
Historical Significance: 4/10
Special Features: 5/10
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