Cocaine Bear Review: A Movie So Dumb It’s Really Fun

Cocaine Bear Review: A Movie So Dumb It’s Really Fun

Cocaine Bear Review: A Movie So Dumb It's Really Fun

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Cocaine Bear, a new movie directed by actress and filmmaker Elizabeth Banks, is based on a premise full of absurdity, lack of logic, and the kind of silly second-tier action you’ll only see in a certain kind of direct. -to-film video. However, in this case, everything is completely deliberate; it’s not exactly a low-budget movie, and it has support from Universal Pictures. Loosely based on a real-life incident that took place in 1985, Cocaine Bear is a 95-minute gore-fest that has all the makings of a cult classic, and here’s my spoiler-free review.


Now, even though I say spoiler-free, there really isn’t much to spoil here. The heart of the plot of Cocaine Bear is exactly what you’d expect from reading the absurd but rather accurate title – an American black bear ingests millions of dollars worth of cocaine, then goes on the kind of drug-fueled rampage that one can only imagine of a wild bear.

The movie is silly, gory, and downright ridiculous in equal parts, with lots of laughs and gags to underscore the campy, cheesy nature of the film. Produced on a budget of around $35 million – most of which went to animate the drug-fueled bear with CGI according to a report by Variety – Cocaine Bear relies on a simple setting, an ensemble cast to relatively low budget and ridiculously over-the-top action and gore to set the tone.

As mentioned, Cocaine Bear is based on an actual incident that took place in 1985, but the film takes significant creative liberties beyond what actually happened. In the actual incident, a drug dealer dropped millions of dollars worth of cocaine from the light plane he was piloting, which went down in the North Georgia wilderness.

An American black bear reportedly found and consumed a large amount of cocaine and was found dead by authorities. No casualties or attacks by this bear on humans have been reported, contrary to the fictional premise of the rest of the film. Now you know that reality isn’t as absurd as fiction, at least in this case.

The ensemble cast, which includes Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr. and the late Ray Liotta in leading roles, does exactly what it’s supposed to do: serve as fodder for the drugged, chaotic bear. That said, their own motivations and stories come into play, but thankfully the movie doesn’t spend too much time explaining all of that.

Notable character sets fit into a handful of sensible categories, however; a few lost children being searched for by a mother, drug dealers hoping to retrieve the drugs from the forest, law enforcement chasing the drug dealers, and various characters who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Interestingly, the film is also extremely unpredictable as you don’t know who will die next, with many innocent bystanders falling in bloody (but sneer-worthy) fashion.

This brings me to the film’s main character – the titular Cocaine Bear himself. The product of impressive CGI and well-executed action sequences, the coked American black bear naturally behaves in ways completely unexpected and contrary to the natural instincts and behaviors of the species. The bear is fast, stealthy, and empowered, obsessed with one thing: finding more cocaine to fuel his addiction.

This is what often saves the most sensible characters, and condemns the unfortunate victims. A simple sniff of cocaine infuses the bear with energy and new aggression, and the premise of the story means there’s plenty of drugs lying around, waiting to be found.

Don’t get me wrong, Cocaine Bear is completely ridiculous. However, he never pretends to be anything other than that. It’s a silly, unrealistic comedy-horror that doesn’t bore you or last too long, and is totally worth your time. Don’t think too much about it, just go watch it.

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