Loosely inspired by real events, emphasis on the word loosely, is the violent comedy horror Cocaine Bear. The year is 1985 and a drug smuggler high over a Tennessee national park is dumping shed loads of coke, but before he could make good his escape his plane crashes and he comes a cropper. Below, a curious black bear consumes quite a bit of it and turns into a 175lb killing machine that will do anything for its next fix.
This is complete and utterly bonkers. Directed by Elizabeth Banks of all people, she from 40 Year Old Virgin and Hunger Games, Cocaine Bear plays out like Jurassic Park and Friday The 13th mixed together with copious amounts of violence and b movie sensibilities. When I say violence, I mean violence – this bear has developed a taste for limbs and intestines to go with the Colombian marching powder.
There’s an amusing motley crew of characters with a startling array of subplots on offer here. Innocent young kids Dee Dee and Henry skipping school for some japes but finding only danger. A determined mother who’ll stop at nothing to rescue her daughter, a Winona Ryder like turn for Keri Russell. The bumbling park rangers struggling to keep tabs on things, hilariously done by Margo Martindale and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Ray Liotta (R.I.P), in an amusing caricature of his many gangster roles, heads a posse of ne’er do wells desperately searching for their lost merchandise. As well as some cops trying to stop the aforementioned criminals and score a major drug bust.
It is very silly, with a flimsy storyline stuffed with too many subplots but Cocaine Bear doesn’t pretend to be anything else but wonderfully stupid fun, with plenty of laughs, thrills and blood spills.