CINEMA REVIEW: COCAINE BEAR (2023)
Directed by Elizabeth Banks
Written by Jimmy Warden
Produced by: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Aditya Sood, Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman and Brian Duffield
Main Cast: Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Christian Convery, Alden Ehrenreich, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Margo Martindale and Ray Liotta
*** CONTAINS SPOILERS ***
Every now and then a film title hooks you in immediately. Snakes on a Plane (2006) anyone? Now, another beast driven movie comes along and says, “Hold. . . My. . . Bear!” Enter based-on-a-crazy-true-story Cocaine Bear (2023)! Yes, incredibly, the B-movie comedy-horror film is based on the real-life events in 1985, when a drug smuggler chucked themselves, and over forty bags of cocaine, out of a mechanically flailing aeroplane. When his parachute failed to open the smuggler plummeted to his death. The raining coke fell into Georgia forest terrain, only to be found by a black bear who, thinking it was food perhaps, tucked into the white powder.
Cocaine Bear (2023) imagines what happened next to this bizarre but somehow tragic series of unfortunate events. Let’s just say that P.E.T.A would certainly not approve of what happens to the bear in this film. Although they may enjoy the many grisly and bone-crunching deaths that occur to the mostly two-dimensional human characters on show. But while the cast, notably Alden Ehrenreich and Keri Russell, do their best with the material, the film lacks the wit and ensemble acting strength of a far superior movie involving an apex predator gone rogue, Lake Placid (1999).
Safe to say that Cocaine Bear (2023) is a pretty terrible movie. It is, however, very entertaining in a stupid way. It is deliberately intended to be that way by the writer, Jimmy Warden and director Elizabeth Banks. The flimsy characterisation, over-acting and half-witted plotting place the film on the verge of parody, without reaching the richly, gag-heavy scripts of say the Naked Gun series. There are some fantastically funny scenes involving the kids finding the cocaine and the realistic CGI bear causing carnage killing dumb teenage gang members and bickering gangsters. So, go into Cocaine Bear (2023) with low expectations and you will be rewarded with a funny and bloody B-movie monster flick. Ultimately, it has a great trailer and clickbait title, and contains enough crowd-pleasing carnage and dumb fun to make it worth a trip to the cinema.