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‘Cocaine Bear’ is Exactly As Advertised (Review)

Let’s get one thing clear: ‘Cocaine Bear’ is genuinely a fun concept and exactly the movie you think it is. Is it any good? Let’s just say, your mileage may vary on that aspect.

Director Elizabeth Banks is in on the joke. She takes a “what did they just say” concept and turns it into an inherently watchable movie. It’s just an incredibly silly one.

Hannah Hoekstra as Elsa in ‘Cocaine Bear’ (Universal Pictures)

Pitched as an “inspired by a true story” tale, ‘Cocaine Bear’ is as loosely rooted in the truth as a certain bloated and very orange ex-President. Which is to say, virtually nothing that happens in this film actually occurred in real life except for the fact that a dead bear was found in Georgia in 1985. Officials believe it ate an entire duffel bag of cocaine that had been thrown out of a plane by drug smugglers. That’s the real story. The movie imagines a slightly different scenario.

The Verdict

In a world full of endless sequels and recycled intellectual property, you have to give Universal Pictures credit for releasing such a ridiculous original film. And, especially if you’re already paying for Peacock, it’s worth checking out for the sheer spectacle of it all.

You should know that ‘Cocaine Bear’ is gory. Once the bear gets going in the woods in all its CGI glory, it has a tendency to rip people to shreds. Banks does not shy away from a few brutal kills, resembling a slasher movie with a comic edge.

The cast, which includes Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Margo Martindale, does their best with what limited material there is. But you didn’t sit down with a movie called ‘Cocaine Bear’ for Oscar-caliber performances, now did you?

The visual effects are good, but not great. You could not have made this film before CGI without it looking ridiculous, but even now it’s still just shy of looking realistic.

Even at 95 minutes, ‘Cocaine Bear,’ is almost still too long for what it delivers. But if you’re up for a bloody genre film that lets you see a few beloved actors get ripped from limb to limb, this is still the film for you.

Our grade: C

How to Watch ‘Cocaine Bear’

‘Cocaine Bear’ is now streaming on Peacock (for anybody with a Premium account) in 4K with Dolby Vision. It was also released this week on Blu-ray and DVD in a “Maximum Rampage Edition” that features an alternate ending, deleted scenes, and a gag reel. You can also purchase it online from any digital retailer. A physical 4K release has not yet been announced for North America, but one is scheduled in the UK on May 29.

Looking for more movie recommendations? Check out our April streaming preview!

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