Cocaine Bear

Cocaine Bear

Published on

Cocaine Bear poster

When I saw an announcement for the movie Cocaine Bear somewhere last year I placed the poster up on my Facebook page with the caption “Looking forward to this”. People on my Facebook thought it was a joke. When the trailer dropped about a month or two later, I got comments from people in the vein of “Wait, this is real?”. I gleefully confirmed the existence of Cocaine Bear. Movies like this are right up my alley. A silly man vs nature premise released by a big studio featuring a cast of recognizable faces. What’s not to love?

Apparently a lot as my girlfriend zoned out after 30 minutes and critics murdered this movie like cocaine killed the actual bear. You read that right, the actual bear. Cocaine Bear is based on a true story about a crashed plane full of duffel bags with coke just to make things even better. While the bear in question never went on a murderous rampage, the story does follow the real life incident pretty close. Even using the actual name of the plane’s pilot.

But despite all the negative reviews and similar response by my girlfriend, I actually liked it. It’s not high art, but it never sets out to be. It’s just a movie about a bear with an appetite for cocaine. While it’s very much a meme movie like Snakes on a Plane, Cocaine Bear keeps the plot fairly straightforward. The result is a decent 90 minute movie. This could’ve been a great 80 minute movie if it lost a plot point or two here and there. Sometimes less is more.

The most expensive element of the movie is the bear. It’s a fully CGI-character and so every moment it’s on screen costs money. But the bear actually looks good though his movements occasionally do reveal we’re not dealing with a real bear. But if you know where to look at, it’s obvious that none of the human characters actually interacts with an actual bear or a practical model even. I have the Corridor Crew and their “Visual effects artists respond to” videos to thank for that.

Cocaine Bear doesn’t go for the small group against an outside threat option. It takes the slasher approach and introduces a surprisingly large cast of characters for the bear to sink his teeth and claws in. This takes most, if not all, of the tension out of the movie. It’s obvious who’s expendable the moment they appear on screen. Cocaine Bear is more of a black comedy than an actual horror movie, despite the ferocious looking poster. I’ll never forget the image of Margot Martindale getting launched from an ambulance and sliding down the road face down.

Cocaine Bear certainly isn’t for everyone, but I had a good time watching it.


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