Promotional posters will tell you that Cocaine Bear” is inspired by real events.”And since the film opens with an uninterrupted 80s-themed soundtrack, the opening title cards give us a quick breakdown of the perils to expect with wild bears. The source of these facts? “Wikipedia.”
Director Elizabeth Banks (who also directed Charlie’s Angels and Pitch Perfect) knows exactly what she’s doing this way. She is a great actress, as evidenced by previous projects such as Mrs. America and her recent lead actor, Call Jane. But she is here exclusively behind the camera for Cocaine Bear, which is now in theaters. It is aware of its bloody B-movie nature, with perhaps little else to offer. But the film’s writer, Jimmy Warden, seems to know what’s going on when it comes to this type of potential Franchise Kickstarter, because he already has Cocaine Bear sequels in mind.
If nothing else, it’s a pleasure to see the after great Ray Liotta join the story’s gang of medicine-dealing characters as they try to find their medicine supply in the Georgia forest. If the Cocaine bear is actually the song of Liotta’s song, he might be laughing upstairs — but in a good way.
Mix Your Favorite Genres
In the recent past, Universal Pictures has taken risks with other commercial projects that mixed different genres of films. Think of M3GAN (horror, Science Fiction and comedy) and powered Night (holidays, Action and comedy). And now there is Cocaine Bear (Thriller, Action and comedy), inspired by the true story of a medicine dealer’s plane crash in 1985, the not-found cocaine that was traveling with it and the black bear that ate it. This is a wild and dark comic tale in which a strange group of cops, delinquents, tourists and teenagers gather in a Georgia forest where a predator at the top of 500 pounds has consumed an incredible amount of medicines and is looking for more. If several people are torn to pieces on the way, so be it — says the bear.
After the aforementioned “Wikipedia” Intro to the movie, the laughs continue as we see an eccentric medicine dealer (played by Americans Star Matthew Rhys) throwing blast bags from a moving plane. He prepares to jump with a parachute, but then hits his head while taking off. Fill in the blanks about what will happen to the poor man next.
Keri Russell plays the moral center of the film, a mother who must finally save her teenage daughter who has snuck into the woods with her troublemaker. In addition to Ray Liotta as Syd, there is a not-so-dynamic Duet of his henchmen, played by O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ingrid Goes West, Long Shot) as Daveed and Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story) as Eddie, who also happens to be Syd’s son.
Learn more about the real story
In the real world, Andrew Carter Thornton II was a major player in a vast cocaine trafficking ring known as the infamous Jamiel “Jimmy” Chagra company. At Cocaine Bear, Thornton’s employer is Syd (Liotta), a St. Louis-based medicine lord whose mobile office is often a fast-food joint.
When Thornton drops his cocaine in the Georgia woods and dies before he can tell Syd where he dropped it, Syd needs someone to pick it up. The very silly story that then unfolds on the big screen is worth watching, despite the frequent ultraviolet shots on the way to laughter. They could make you hide your eyes while giving movies like Kick-Ass a run for their money. But also when it comes to comedy, Isiah Whitlock Jr. reliable fun. Here he plays a detective who simply misses his puppy as he tries to track down medicines and dealers through the woods. An exchange of fire between the brash characters of Whitlock and O’Shea Jackson Jr. is another strong point.
Elizabeth Banks grew up watching and loving the films of the after 70s and 80s, and she says that she immediately realized the potential of Cocaine Bear to pay to that time, but also to create a fun, bloody and entertaining ride for the public. “For me, as a viewer and as a person who wanted to make movies, I have always loved horror and comedy together,” Banks said in a statement. “Horror and comedy are two sides of the same coin for me. The best you can do is take the audience on a real roller coaster, make them laugh, make them scream, make them jump. That was the goal of making this movie. I really felt that this was an opportunity to layer real comedy, strong moments to laugh, with a real feeling of tension and a lot of blood, and have a good time with this big bright and complete idea of this bear is going to Bang some people.”