It’s easy to see the appeal of a high concept title like Cocaine Bear – the true story of a bear ripped to the tits on bricks of cocaine thrown from a smuggler’s plane over the Chattahoochee National Forest before the smugglers knocks himself unconscious and plummets headlong to his death in Kentucky driveway, is an amusing one. This all happened in 1985 (and the era is established nicely notably with Nancy Reagan’s unintentionally hilarious anti drugs campaign) where the bear, off his face on $2m of cocaine, to little surprise, soon died. On that basis it would be a short film but Cocaine Bear expands it to 90 minutes with a cast that are destined to meet a grisly demise at the claws of a marauding wild eyed coked up grizzly.
With a decent cast that includes Ray Liotta in one of his last appearances as a drug kingpin, only too aware of his own fate at the hands of his Colombian colleagues, sends two of his men Faveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr) along with his son Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) to retrieve it. Their quest for coke is picked up by Bob the cop (Isaiah Whitlock Jr) who also goes in pursuit. Then there’s nurse Sari (Keri Russell) who goes looking for her young daughter and her friend who have skipped school to play in the woods and helping her is park ranger Liz (Margo Martindale) with the hots for wildlife inspector Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson looking like a Keith Lemon tribute act) and then of course there’s a mish mash of hikers and half-wit hooligans added into the mix. It’s not a stretch to guess who will survive.
Cocaine Bear is very much part of that notoriously difficult genre the comedy-horror – and here, not all the comedy hits its mark but the horror is occasionally shocking ramped up to the max that wouldn’t be out of place in a zombie movie in a couple of gruesome moments. But it’s an uneven movie with perhaps the stand out sequence being an extended ambulance set piece that lives up the hype that the rest of the film can’t quite match.
Cocaine Bear is a schlocky B-movie that at times is particularly gory but unlike like Jaws or Jurassic Park doesn’t have the edge of your seat set pieces. The CGI bear is entertaining but this falls firmly into the Saturday night beers & pizza genre and has assured its future as a cult film. Rumours of British version titled, ‘Badger with a bong’ remain unconfirmed .
Here’s the Cocaine Bear trailer…..