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Elizabeth Banks
Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O'Shea Jackson Jr.
Writing Credits:
Jimmy Warden

An oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converge on a Georgia forest where a huge black bear goes on a murderous rampage after unintentionally ingesting cocaine.

Box Office:
$30 million.
Opening Weekend:
$23,260,790 on 3534 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 9/19/2023

• Audio Commentary with Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks and Producer Max Handelman
• Alternate Ending
• Gag Reel
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• “All Roads Lead to Cokey” Featurette
• “Unbearable Bloodbath” Featurette
• “Doing Lines” Featurette
• Previews
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Cocaine Bear [4K UHD] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 19, 2023)

“High concept” movies don’t get much high conceptier than 2023’s Cocaine Bear. “Based on true events” – in the loosest sense – the movie focuses on the havoc caused by the title character.

In 1985, a drug smuggler falls from a plane and dies when his parachute fails to open. This spreads a massive load of packaged cocaine across a variety of areas.

Most of this supply winds up in Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest, where a black bear ingests a lot of it. This sets the furry beast on a rampage that causes mayhem wherever it goes.

When announced, Bear sounded like a cheap direct-to-cable flick ala campy tales like Sharknado. Few who heard the title and “plot” expected anything more than the cheesiest of cheese.

However, Bear involves a much greater level of talent than one would anticipate from such a goofy property. We get Elizabeth Banks as director and the Phil Lord/Chris Miller team as producers.

In front of the camera, Bear boasts a ton of good actors. The cast features Keri Russell, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Margo Martindale, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and – in his final role – Ray Liotta.

With so many notables involved, how could Bear flop? I don’t know, but the end result becomes a tedious dud.

Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise given Banks’ short but spotty résumé as a filmmaker. When she acts, she usually delights, but when she directs… not so much.

Banks made her first feature with 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2. Though largely a pretty blah movie, it gave her a major box office success right out of the gate, as it took in about $287 million worldwide on a low $30 million budget.

For Banks’ second directorial effort, she helmed 2019’s Charlie’s Angels reboot. It also delivered a fairly lousy movie and it failed to connect with audiences, a factor that meant it lost money.

With Bear, Banks’ commercial fortunes fall somewhere between those two – though closer to Angels than the massive success of Perfect 2. Bear sported a roughly $30 million budget and generated about $85 million worldwide. That meant it probably broke even or made a tiny profit.

What Bear didn’t do was establish Banks as a good director. As noted, I disliked her prior two efforts, and Bear makes her zero for three.

Deep down, Bear delivers a horror story, but given the aforementioned wacky premise, it easily could lead toward over the top humor. And at times does, but Banks digs into so many domains that the movie fails to meld.

Bear simply seems too gruesome for a comedy. Again, if Banks went whole hog and made the movie a rambunctious splatter-fest, that might work, but she only occasionally follows that path.

As a result, the graphic violence feels disconnected to the rest of the movie. There’s too much gore for a comedy but not enough for a wild horror flick.

Bear dabbles in a bunch of categories but enters “jack of all trades” territory. Not funny enough to be a good comedy, not scary enough to be a compelling horror flick, and not exciting enough to become a satisfying action film, Bear sputters.

Pacing doesn’t help. After an opening attack, Bear takes forever to get into gear, as it sets up a bunch of bland characters about whom we care little to nothing.

Even with them in place and Cocaine Bear on the rampage, we still wind up stuck with the dull characters as they meander around and do little of interest. The movie maintains too many competing plot lines and rarely makes a lick of sense.

Of course, I get it that Bear doesn't intend to be fine art, so one usually swallows plot holes in a goofy "B"-movie like this. However, I found myself so bored that I focused more on the inconsistencies and flaws.

Even at 95 minutes, the movie taxes patience. I don’t know how a movie about a drug-addled killer animal could be so boring, but Bear achieves that feat.

Footnote: two short supplemental scenes appear early in the end credits. Other than an animal noise at the very finish, nothing shows up after those clips.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Cocaine Bear appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. The movie came with an excellent presentation.

Sharpness always looked strong. Nary a sliver of softness occurred during this tight, precise image.

I witnessed no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes failed to mar the picture. Print flaws remained absent.

Colors went with a fairly subdued emphasis on light teal and threw in some amber as well. The tones suited their design choices, and HDR added impact and punch to the hues.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows appeared smooth and concise. HDR brought range and power to whites and contrast. This became a terrific rendition of the film.

Though not tremendously active, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack added some life to the proceedings. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the occasional scenes of action and mayhem gave the tale the most vivid material.

These used the speakers in an involving manner and created a good soundscape. Sequences such as this didn’t occur frequently enough to make the soundfield a consistent winner, but they added verve to the tale.

Audio quality worked fine, with speech that seemed natural and concise. Music showed nice range and impact.

Effects demonstrated accurate, full tones with solid low-end. Again, this never became a great soundtrack, but it seemed more than satisfactory.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Atmos audio expanded the BD’s mix a bit but didn’t seem revelatory.

A true 4K product, the UHD disc looked amazing, as it seemed tighter and more vivid than its BD counterpart. While the latter looked great, it couldn’t compete with this stellar 4K presentation.

When we move to extras, we open with an audio commentary from director/producer Elizabeth Banks and producer Max Handelman. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters and the source, cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, influences, inspirations and Easter eggs, music, costumes, production design and 80s elements, music, stunts/action and related topics.

Banks heavily dominates the commentary, and that works for me, as she makes it a good ride. We learn a lot about the production in this engaging and informative chat.

In addition to an Alternate Ending (0:48) that features a character left for dead in the final cut, we get three Deleted & Extended Scenes. These occupy four minutes, 33 seconds.

These three feature more of the Sari character. None seem essential, but all offer some intrigue. The “Ending” seems reasonably interesting as well.

A Gag Reel spans one minute, 54 seconds and delivers the standard goofs and giggles. Other than some improv lines from Isiah Whitlock, nothing especially interesting arises.

Three featurettes follow, and All Roads Lead to Cokey goes for nine minutes, 14 seconds. It brings notes from Banks, visual effects supervisor Robin Hollander, bear performer Allan Henry, visual effects producer Petra Holtorf-Stratton, producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and actors Matthew Rhys, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Isiah Whitlock Jr., Margo Martindale, Christian Convery, Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Aaron Holliday, Keri Russell, Kristofer Hivju, and Brooklynn Prince.

“Roads” covers the source facts and their move into the movie, Banks’ approach to the material, cast and performances, and bringing the bear to life. Despite a few insights, much of “Roads” feels superficial.

Unbearable Bloodbath runs eight minutes, 16 seconds and features Ferguson, Martindale, Banks, Russell, makeup designer Liz Byrne, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Melissa Stubbs, special effects floor supervisor Brian Mulvey, and actors Leo Hanna and Scott Seiss.

As implied by the title, “Bloodbath” tells us about aspects of the movie’s violent scenes. Though nothing deep, we get some decent notes about stunts and effects.

Finally, Doing Lines goes for four minutes and features Hivju, Prince, Convery, Jackson, Hanna, Handelman, Ehrenreich, Holliday, Whitlock, Banks, producers Brian Duffield and Aditya Sood, and actor JB Moore.

They read snatches of the script in an overly dramatic manner. Why? I don’t know, but it proves mildly amusing.

A second disc provides a Blu-ray copy of Bear. It includes the same extras as the 4K.

Note that all the supplements subtitles listed under the disc’s specs apply solely to the Blu-ray, as the 4K omits any text for its bonus materials.

The Blu-ray opens with ads for M3GAN and Violent Night. No trailer for Bear appears on either the 4K or the Blu-ray discs.

With its goofball premise, Cocaine Bear should have provided a silly but entertaining thrill ride. Instead, it cannot choose its own genre so it turns into a messy morass that never connects. The 4KUHD boasts excellent visuals, generally positive audio and a mix of bonus materials. Expect a surprisingly slow and dull flick from this one.

To rate this film visit the Blu-Ray review of COCAINE BEAR

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