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‘Cocaine Bear’ – Pablo Escobear’s Drug Fueled Rampage Reviewed

3 Minute Read
Feb 24 2023

Cocaine Bear is an aptly titled movie inspired by a true story that sounds too wild to be real. But does it live up to the hype?

True story? Yep. Ex-cop turned lawyer Andrew Thornton II built a criminal network, moving arms and drugs. In 1985 he was transporting seventy-five pounds of cocaine on a plane from Columbia to the US. Something went wrong that caused Thornton to jump from his aircraft. His body landed in someone’s yard in Knoxville, Tennessee. The $15 million of cocaine he was carrying was found and consumed by a 175-pound black bear in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia. Three months after Thornton’s demise, the FBI found the bear’s body among forty opened plastic containers with traces of the drug.

Next time you’re in Lexington, KY you can visit the bear at the Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall.

via Kentucky for Kentucky

Cocaine Bear takes more than a few liberties with the story and explores what a bear on cocaine could/would do in 1985. This hopped-up Ursus americanus runs through the forest, taking out anything and everything in its path while searching for its next fix.

The cast includes Keri Russell, Emmy winner Margo Martindale, Emmy winner Ray Liotta, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Kahyun Kim, Christian Convery, Brooklynn Prince, and newcomer Scott Seiss. Oscar winners Phil Lord and Chris Miller are producers, and it’s directed by Elizabeth Banks.


Cocaine Bear Review – No Spoilers

If you were hoping for a hilarious time with jaw-dropping ‘they didn’t really just do that’ moments, I’m sorry to disappoint. This movie falls fall short of its spectacular title and fun marketing campaign. I was really looking forward to seeing the movie and writing about how awesome it is, but I can’t.

The movie is an odd mix of an after-school special, buddy dramedy, and drug dealer conflict – with an angry bear thrown in for some extra chaos. It can’t settle on what it is, making the whole story fall flat and sucking a lot of the potential humor out of it. You’d think a movie called Cocaine Bear would go all out with its shocking moments or at least its funny ones, but they’re tame and few and far between.


There are so many missed possibilities. This should have been bonkers, and it just isn’t.

via Universal Pictures

Cocaine Bear feels like it was supposed to be a small release, maybe digital or a streaming exclusive. Instead, thanks to internet hype, it got upgraded to a wide release. The movie feels stunted. It’s like it wants to be a drug-fueled, landlocked Lake Placid or Sharknado but can’t for some reason. I’m not sure if that’s coming from the studio putting limitations on it or if this is what the creators intended.

I love bad movies–this doesn’t hit that sweet spot, either. Cocaine Bear could have been fun if it had gone harder. It could have been gorier, scarier, and more ridiculous. Its humor could have been raunchier, its satire punchier. Instead, it’s boring and predictable, and it meanders. The whole thing is unfortunate. Thankfully it’s only 95 minutes.


Should You See It?

Cocaine Bear’s best moments were revealed in trailers and clips released over the last several months. I’d skip the theater release and wait till it shows up on one of the streaming services. At least then, you can safely enjoy some adult beverages. Maybe watching it MST3K style with some friends will make the experience better.


Author: Mars Garrett
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