Let's say this right from the beginning. "Cocaine Bear" knows precisely what it is, makes no excuses for it, and playfully chews and claws through its script with an unadulterated joy seldom seen in films these days. It's a cheesy, dark comedy thriller, B-Grade Film Romp, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
If you're looking for a typical run-of-the-mill thriller, you won't find it here. What this film asks you to do is sit down, fasten your seat belt, don't expect or anticipate what kind of craziness is coming next and just go with it. If you do you're in for a solid hour and a half of cinema bliss.
Elizabeth Banks, yes the Elizabeth Banks of "Pitch Perfect" fame, has directed one heck of an oddball action film, filled with belly laughs, gore-filled rampage, kooky characters, and outlandish dialogue. It's a joy to behold, and I'm sure it will be talked about for many years to come
Here's The Storyline...
Inspired by the 1985 true story of a corrupt Kentucky cop, Andrew Thornton, who was running drugs when his plane crashed in a National Park spreading 40 kilos of cocaine packages far and wide. Unfortunately for a group of cops, criminals, tourists, hikers, and teens who happen into the woods at the exact moment when one big mother of an American black bear, a 500-pound apex predator, finds and ingests a staggering amount of cocaine and goes on a coke-fueled rampage.
The forest guests try to understand what's going on and why the now drug-addicted bear is out foraging as much cocaine as it can find and taking out everyone and everything in her way. It's a 'tiptoe through the tulips' game of 'hide and seek' for survival.
This was Ray Liotta's last film role before he passed away in May of 2022, and a pretty good performance. It's also one of those films where the ensemble of actors works so well together that they all stand out as one perfect set of characters; due in no small part to the wonderful directing ability of Elizabeth Banks. I hope to see more of her work in the future, I can't imagine what she'll do next.
As a point of interest, there is a real Cocaine Bear. They call him jokingly "Pablo Escobear", and he's on display in Lexington, Kentucky where the incident actually happened.
My Take: "Cocaine Bear is a unique film. I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did. Even the audience I saw it with seemed thrilled by it. This film is worth the price of admission you won't be disappointed.
"Cocaine Bear" is rated R for bloody violence and gore, drug content, and language throughout. Running Time: 1hr 35min.