Cocaine Bear R (2023)

You see it constantly when actors turned producers/directors take a chance and risk it all by putting their reputation on the line by throwing a win or loose movie out there. Such is the case of Elizabeth Banks’ insanely violent comedy/thriller directorial debut with Cocaine Bear.

The premise is all about a big black mama bear running afoot deep in Georgia’s Chattahoochee woods enjoying her found sacks of blow. It was a drug drop gone bad when the man on the plane (Matthew Rhys) drops a gob of bags filled with the white powder stuff to retrieve later, parachutes from the plane but shoot, no shoot opens and he takes the nest tea plunge and suddenly his sky-diving days are over and he is bear bait.

The bear, based on a true story, unlike the flying shark epics and “Snakes on a Plane” sees her (yes, it is a female w/cubs) chance for some fun in the sun and as long as there is blow there is mama bear.

When the blow can’t be found, mama slows her paws down. More coke the better the film gets with some gory images all with the help of the cast O’Shea Jackson, Alden Ehrenreich, park ranger Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and single mom Keri Russell looking for he missing 13-year-old daughter (Brooklynn Prince). Russell holds the fort down so well you’d think the movie was about her. It’s about all but the bear wins after she chews some asses removes a few limbs and goes for the head.

Keri Russell playing hide and Don’t seek in Universal’s Cocaine Bear

A lot of credit goes to stuntman Alan Henry playing the bear with just a head with a little help from Weta FX and CGI. You’ll laugh and squirm through some gnarly moments like Ray Liotta, in his last role as he passed shortly after doing his part, caught between a rock and a bear. It took lots of guts for the grand exit. The movie is just a comedy but with the bear not dead in this one (like it was in real life after overdosing) Banks might having thoughts of part two.

There is so much going on here for a 90 minute journey but it’s worth the ‘trip’. The ambulance scene and bathroom scene were standouts to remember. Good job ELizabeth. I personally thought Eric Clapton’s Cocaine song would have been fitting for some background music but I wasn’t asked. The film opens Friday February 24. B

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