Story: After a chaotic air drop takes an unexpected turn, millions of dollars worth of cocaine rains from the sky over a rural stretch of forest that’s part of the parks system. While the smuggler responsible for the botched air drop is dead, there is still the matter of all that cocaine, which has immense value to the cartels that supplied it. To that end, crime kingpin Syd (Ray Liotta) dispatches a crew to retrieve the cocaine, with Daveed (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) taking lead and Syd’s own son Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) reluctantly along for the ride. Meanwhile, others have started to converge on the location, including law enforcement, park officials, small time criminals, and even a pair of kids, all while a fortune in cocaine just waits to be discovered. But when a vicious bear with a bad attitude starts to eat the cocaine by the pound, can anyone manage to survive the forest predator, as she goes on an insane rampage?
Entertainment Value: Cocaine Bear more than delivers on the promise of its title, as we do have a bear that ingests a lot of cocaine and overall, this is a wild, over the top ride that provides terrific entertainment. I do wish the first act had a crisper pace, but by and large, Cocaine Bear delivers on the madness of the premise. The story is based on true events at a core level, but beyond a bear eating cocaine, the movie goes on a manic, moonshot ride that takes that concept and rockets it into b movie bliss, with all kinds of wackiness throughout. I greatly appreciated seeing this kind of b movie material produced with these kind of production values and while Cocaine Bear does seem more polished than most “when animals attack” movies, it retains enough elements of cheese to keep the genre fans tuned in. I was impressed by the number of fun set pieces, especially in the film’s second half, but the film’s trailer did show off most of the wilder moments. So not a lot of big surprises, but there are some and Cocaine Bear shines in the smaller moments as well, especially in terms of dialogue. I wouldn’t have minded even more outlandish touches here, but I had fun with Cocaine Bear and it earns a solid recommendation.
Cocaine Bear greatly benefits from a large, colorful ensemble of talent in front of the camera, with a few terrific, standout efforts included in that lot. This was sadly Ray Liotta’s final performance and while he has a small role, it is memorable and he is fun to watch here. One of the most entertaining turns in Cocaine Bear belongs to Margo Martindale, who shines in a humorous, over the top role that she really embraces. She has some hilarious dialogue and plays so well off her costars, keep the entertainment value high even between the bear attacks. No matter who else is on screen or what craziness is playing out around her, Martindale is an absolute delight to watch in Cocaine Bear. Also standing out is Keri Russell, who also runs with the zany premise and gives us a fun performance. Russell steals a fair share of scenes here and really works well with the younger performers, leading to some humorous exchanges. The cast also includes O’ Shea Jackson, Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Isaiah Whitlock, Jr., Scott Seiss, and Ayoola Smart.
The Disc: Universal unleashes Cocaine Bear in a gorgeous visual treatment on Blu-ray, with razor sharp detail, bright colors, and smooth contrast for those night time cave scenes. The movie looks fantastic in this presentation, much as you’d expect from a big studio new release. The extras include an alternate end sequence, deleted & extended scenes, a gag reel, and the film’s trailers.
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