film reel image

film reel image

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Cocaine Bear 2023 * * Stars


"What is that?" Uh it's a bear, with a sneer and enough burly heft to make you turn white (pun intended).

Anyhow, 2023's Cocaine Bear has a title that is pretty self-explanatory, like combining two things a la The Hurricane Heist. It's about a black bear that just happens to ingest one of the world's most famous stimulants and it's based on true events. Oh and in a drug fueled haze said bear goes on a killing spree. Stretch the truth much? I mean come on man, you can only see Cocaine Bear and say to yourself, "it's just a movie". That's the one way to compound what's going on.

So yeah, as I watched Cocaine Bear I realized that its director/actress (Elizabeth Banks) was trying to make a cult film here. It's obvious. A cult film as defined, is a pic that gains a fan base over the years through exploitation. In the case of Cocaine Bear it's heavy mammals who get euphoric on the almighty powder.

Now do I think Elizabeth's flick will gain that earned, cultish status? I'm not seeing it because Cocaine Bear isn't over the top enough or agreeable to make an indelible impression. And do I believe Cocaine Bear is worth at least one viewing based on the notion of sheer novelty? Sure why not. But hey, how's The Hurricane Heist (mentioned earlier) doing after half a decade on that wannabe, following shelf? Nil, crickets, no clap back.

Taking place in Georgia circa 1985 and only feeling like an 80s movie because of the tunes (I rolled my eyes a little when Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" came on), Cocaine Bear could have pushed the envelope as a horror thriller but decides to not flex and just bore you initially. Until the last twenty minutes you have to sit through languid, interconnecting stories, annoying characters, quixotic situations, and scant, grisly shots of the bear in question. It's only when the late Ray Liotta shows up in a supporting role via the last act as a weathered kingpin, that the proceedings have any sort of snap to them. "Cocaine blues". Natch.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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