COCAINE BEAR (2023) – My rating: 5.5/10

Cocaine Bear poster.jpgCocaine Bear is a comedy horror film directed and produced by Elizabeth Banks and written by Jimmy Warden. The film is loosely inspired by the true story of the “Cocaine Bear”, an American black bear that ingested millions of dollars worth of lost cocaine in 1985. I had a feeling Cocaine Bear was going to either be very funny or very stupid.  I was right, it was not good.  Cocaine Bear is dedicated to Ray Liotta, who died in his sleep at the age of 67 in May 2022, while filming the movie ‘Dangerous Waters’ in the Dominican Republic. It’s too bad one of Ray’s last movies is a semi-quasi bad one.

In 1985, drug smuggler Andrew C. Thornton II (Matthew Rhys) drops several duffle bags of cocaine from his plane. He attempts to parachute out with a drug-filled duffel bag, but knocks himself unconscious on the doorframe, causing him to fall to his death. His body lands in Knoxville, Tennessee where he is identified by Bob (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), a local detective. Bob concludes that the cocaine is likely from St. Louis drug kingpin Syd White (Ray Liotta), and the remainder of the drugs is missing. Meanwhile, in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, an American black bear eats some of the cocaine, becomes highly aggressive, and attacks two hikers, Elsa (Hannah Hoekstra) and Olaf (Kristofer Hivju).

Other folks were also attacked including two children Dee Dee (Brooklynn Prince) and her best friend Henry (Christian Convery) who played hooky from school because they wanted to spray paint the waterfalls while in the National Forest. Eventually, Sari (Keri Russell), who is Dee Dee’s mom, shows up to find the children and teams up with Park ranger Liz (Margo Martindale) and Peter (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), a wildlife activist.  The entire cast ends up in the forest for different reasons but all are subject to an attack by the aggressive cocaine-eating bear.  Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) and Daveed (O’shea Jackson Jr.), who are part of the drug family who is looking to recover the remainder of the cocaine for Syd, are attacked and end up in one of the funniest scenes of the film.  So this is some of what the movie is about, however, it’s not the true story.

The only truth is Andrew C Thornton, a former narcotics officer became involved with a drug smuggling outfit in Lexington Kentucky.  He tried to parachute from a private charter plane with roughly $4,500, two guns, a knife, and several duffle bags filled with bricks of cocaine.  Thornton knocked himself out while attempting to jump from the plane and was found dead in a backyard or driveway in Clay County, NC.

The truth is that the 180 lb bear was found 4 months after the plane crashed, dead in Northern GA among 40 open plastic containers with traces of cocaine. The bear had three to four grams of cocaine in his system and died of an overdose. Also, the bear didn’t attack anyone nor did it kill anyone.  I like this original story better.  I think there were not more than three funny scenes which were not enough to deem this movie a comedy.  I did not like the violent scenes that had limbs flying and heads rolling.  Many people died and many people were maimed. I can’t understand why anyone would want to see this horrific violence for a laugh that never happened.  The Cocaine Bear is a popular movie however, I overheard some viewers complaining that it was a waste of time.  I was slightly entertained waiting for a good ending.  I’m still waiting. See Cocaine Bear at your own risk — I warn you, it’s bloody — Check It Out!

FYI:  The “Cocaine Bear” aka Pablo Eskobear is currently on display at the Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington, Kentucky as of 2015.

As of March 2, 2023, Cocaine Bear has grossed $30.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $5.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $35.5 million. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 69% of 260 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The website’s consensus reads, “Despite Cocaine Bear’s half-baked plot and uneven acting, the titular fur fiend’s scene-snorting frenzy will give B-movie enthusiasts a contact high.” In a negative review, Nicholas Barber of BBC criticized the human characters and their interactions. He wrote, “Instead of showing us the moment when the title character discovered and ingested the drugs, the film keeps introducing more and more characters who could have been in the first draft of a Coen brothers script”


2 responses to “COCAINE BEAR (2023) – My rating: 5.5/10

  1. Good review. I will take your advise and pass on it. Interesting premise, horrible execution, it seems. Blahhh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In my opinion, they should have focused on making it a true comedy. It could have been hilarious.


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