Skip to content

Blu-ray Review: Cocaine Bear

May 23, 2023

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

In Cocaine Bear, director Elizabeth Banks takes the inspired by a true story premise of a bear in the 1980s who consumed copious amounts of cocaine that had been dumped from a drug runner’s plane, and fashions it into an absurdly gory and intentionally cheesy B-movie creature feature about a bear on a coke-fuelled rampage.

The film, which very much falls into the horror comedy camp, is set in the Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest, where the packs of cocaine land after being dropped from the plane in the opening scene. The powder is consumed by a female black bear who gets hooked on the stuff, and starts devouring anyone who gets in the path of her next fix.

The film brings together a large of cast of human characters who all converge in the woods, which are patrolled by Ranger Liz (Margo Martindale). There’s Sari (Keri Russell), a nurse and single mother who ventures out to find her adolescent daughter Dee Dee (Brooklynn Prince), who has run off to the woods with her best friend Henry (Christian Convery). Meanwhile, Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) are sent to retrieve the missing stash for their boss Syd (the late Ray Liotta in one of his final roles), but are being trailed by Detective Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.).

The film does get off to a bit of a choppy start as it rushes through these character introductions, and the players themselves are never really developed beyond being one-note figures to serve the carnage, with a barely held together plot that has a bit of a sketch comedy feel to it at times. But Cocaine Bear hits its stride once the action kicks in, with Banks staging some absurdly entertaining set-pieces (including a creative ambulance chase) and high shock-value kills.

Banks also presents the titular bear (a fully CG creation) as a somewhat sympathetic character, despite the carnage that she leaves in her wake, which ups the absurd enjoyability of the film and makes it a bit different from other animal attack movies. It’s a sort of what you see is what you get film, delivering pretty much exactly what you expect from something called Cocaine Bear. It’s messy in places, but entertaining enough for what it is, offering an intentionally over-the-top movie that mixes some dumb laughs with a lot of gore.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The “Maximum Rampage Edition” Blu-ray includes a handful of bonus features. A regular DVD is also included in the package, which ships with an embossed slipcover.

Alternate Ending (48 seconds)

Gag Reel (1 minute, 54 seconds)

Deleted & Extended Scenes (4 minutes, 33 seconds): Three deleted/extended sequences from the film, presented as a set.

All Roads Lead to Cokey: The Making of Cocaine Bear (9 minutes, 14 seconds): Banks talks about nailing the right tone for the movie, while cast members recount about how much fun they had on set, and the unique experience of acting alongside stunt performer Allan Henry, who performed “Cokey” the bear’s movements.

Unbearable Bloodbath: Dissecting the Kills (8 minutes, 16 seconds): A closer look at how they pulled off some of the gnarly kills in the film, using a mix of makeup, prosthetics and complicated blood rigs.

Doing Lines (4 minutes): The actors do fake dramatic line readings from the script.

Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks and Producer Max Handelman

Cocaine Bear is a Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 95 minutes and rated 18A.

Street Date: May 23rd, 2023

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: