Cocaine Bear (2023) Review



While there’s some decent gore and a few laughs, you’ve already seen the best parts of this movie in the trailer.

Plot: Drug dealers, a cop, a mom looking for her daughter and a love-lorn forest ranger converge on a national park in Georgia where a cocaine-addled bear is on the loose.

Review: Cocaine Bear was probably one of the most unique and unusual trailers I’ve seen in a long time. The idea that a bear took cocaine and went on a rampage, causing destruction and chaos wherever it went, seemed like an idea worth the price of admission. Like most reviews, I will say that what you saw in the trailer is basically what you got. However, I think there was an opportunity to go a little farther, but the filmmakers decided not to.

This movie is a one-trick pony – the bear constantly takes cocaine throughout the film, and it’s almost like, the writers and filmmakers thought that was enough to carry the movie. So, you end up with a bare-bones story that doesn’t justify even its short runtime. I was excited to see the film was only 95 minutes long, but watching it, the movie definitely felt longer. That would have been alleviated if the movie had some interesting characters. However, there’s none to be found in that department. The closest is the late, great Ray Liotta, who at least tried to give his character some nastiness.

The rest of the characters are kinda bland. Keri Russell is the responsible adult. Alden Ehrenreich is the estranged son of Ray Liotta, who doesn’t want his father’s heinous profession and is constantly depressed about his deceased wife. O’Shea Jackson Jr. is the drug dealer you know is better than his profession. Margo Martindale is the small-time park ranger who thinks she’s better than her station. None of them really rise above their description, which makes the movie okay, but with better characters, they could have elevated it.

There is some decent gore in the film, though it’s not really dwelled upon – depending on your tastes, you’ll think either that’s just about right, or you’ll wish they had done more. There are some great shots of the park, and the bear comes across decently, even though you know it’s CGI. Where this movie fell down was in the climax, which was shot in a cave and then out in the woods at night, so in other words, dark as hell. I could still tell what was going on, but after having the vast majority of the film in the sunshine, I didn’t think it was necessary. But this is modern Hollywood, where they spend millions of dollars shooting action scenes you can’t see.

The movie did feature some familiar 80s songs, so that’s a plus, and it’s neat to see 80s fashions throughout, as the 80s and 90s were the decades in which I grew up. If you’re nostalgic for that time, that will be a plus.

I feel that the movie’s best parts were already in the trailer. The attack on the ambulance, the bear in the ranger office, climbing the tree – it’s all in this movie. Unfortunately, though, that’s mostly the highlights of the bear (though I did laugh at it falling asleep on top of Ehrenreich), and the rest of the film is focused on the character stuff that, frankly, they don’t deserve. The movie doesn’t know if it wants to be a comedy or a horror movie, and thus, it’s this weird hybrid that doesn’t really succeed as either. This movie needed to be more outrageous, and maybe it would have been in different hands.