Genre: Dark Comedy
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Christian Convery, Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Kristofer Hivju, Hannah Hoekstra, Aaron Holliday, Margo Martindale, Ray Liotta
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins
Rating: M18 (Violence and Drug References)
Released By: UIP
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 23 February 2023

Synopsis: Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner's plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild dark comedy finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500- pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood.

Movie Review:

Cocaine Bear greets everyone with an iffy quote from Wikipedia about black bears before fading in with a couple trekking in the wild and making wedding plans. And they encounter a demented-looking bear, banging its head against a tree. Little did they anticipate a killing spree to be launched by the apex predator high on cocaine and the search for the infamous red duffle bags containing millions of dollars’ worth of substance is embarked on.

The Coke Bear’s challengers are a gaggle of tourists, law enforcement officers, drug peddlers, a drug kingpin and of course, a concerned mother searching for her daughter. With many characters racing to the same location for varying reasons, this posthumous release for beloved Ray Liotta hinges on the question if they all will make it out alive. Or is it a glorious ending for the Cocaine Bear and her adorable babies that are also high on crack?

Loosely based on the actual event of a drug runner's plane crash in 1985 and the black bear that had ingested a bag of substance, the 91-minute thriller set in a forest in Georgia stars an ensemble of esteemed actors such as the late and great Ray Liotta, Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and many more. And the drug binge that is far from bear minimum (pun intended) summons gory events unfolding in just a day.

The real bear that was immortalised on film had a dissimilar ending (sadder actually), compared to its onscreen counterpart. Elizabeth Banks who loves a good underdog story gave some emotional depth to the titular character by throwing in some motherly touches with the bear cubs. By the same token, surprisingly, parenting is one of the biggest themes of the film. Banks revealed in an interview that she felt a lot of sympathy for the bear who had ended up being a victim in the drug war’s collateral damage. And she intended this movie to be a revenge story for the bear who is now a taxidermied display in Lexington, Kentucky. And it sure worked for the best with its fictional furry counterpart that runs on an erratic shift in gears, where it goes from knee-slapping kind of funny to potentially harrowing kind of scary.

Outmatching the Revenant bear by being the most vicious and asserting, Cokey was digitally brought to life by Wētā FX and an on-set bear performer named Allan Henry who walks as a quadruped with prosthetics.

What redeems this man-versus-beast kind of flick is the rib-tickling humour along the way that makes it absolutely fun to watch. Although the comedy-flecked chaos doesn’t lean into being a full-fledged plot that boasts a compelling narrative, it sure is a character-centric flick that does what it was set to do - keep audience glued to their seats. The woodsy thriller which is a run-of-the-mill tale with a definitive ending is a jumble of love, trust, camaraderie and limitless craziness that makes up for an absence of any major plot twists. The theatrical poster even endorses a faint sense of humour that paradoxically makes it even funnier, especially with that "get in line" slogan. Apart from that, Cocaine Bear also promises nostalgic horror B-movies vibes as it lulls you into a time and place in the ‘80s.

This is definitely a movie that no one asked for, but one that we all are badly in need of. If you have been fatigued by the recent slew of some deep, Oscar-worthy numbers, then this laid-back (mis)adventure that is made into a full-length feature film may make you want to grab some hot nachos and extra-large coke (the drinkable kind, duh)!

Movie Rating:



(Don’t sleep on this coke-fuelled rampage. Hibernation is boring. It’s a cocaine Christmas for Pablo Escobear in this unapologetically loud, dark dramedy)

Review by Asha Gizelle Mariadas


You might also like:


Movie Stills