Review: “Cocaine Bear Is Officially an Action Movie Icon”

Brittany Fernandez reviews the Elizabeth Banks directed action-comedy, out in theaters today!

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With a title like Cocaine Bear, the new Elizabeth Banks directed action-comedy had no choice but to deliver. I’m happy to report that it absolutely did, and then some. The driving plot of the movie is loosely based on true events that took place in the Georgia and Tennessee hills during 1985. Obviously, Banks and screenwriter Jimmy Warden took plenty of liberties to bring us the entertaining, and surprisingly heartfelt at times, Universal flick.

Packed with stars like the late Ray Liotta, Isiah Whitlock Jr, and freaking Keri RussellCocaine Bear was an enjoyable ride from start to finish. The jokes and quick humor land in every scene. Elizabeth Banks has a staple comedic timing that has solidified her as one of the great comedy actresses in the last fifteen years, and that timing translates wonderfully behind the scenes as well.

With all its comedic glory though, Cocaine Bear also has plenty of action and gore to keep the audience hooked. Amidst the laughter, you’ll find yourself bug-eyed and wincing during the cocaine-fueled bear attacks. The blood splatter is expertly excessive for a film of this nature. The violent scenes aren’t too little or too much, but hit just right.

Obviously, the star of the show is the bear, but another strong component of the film is the characters and the charm that they bring to the story. Their dialogue is kept brief, but meaningful. The human’s journeys were apparent, but without being a distraction from the real reason people are watching the movie. Margo Martindale and Christian Convery are both stand outs as their respective characters.

If we wanted to delve deeper into the themes of Cocaine Bear, we could. Family values, man versus nature, justice, and perseverance can all stand as pillars that hold up this insane story. But, at the end of the day, Banks knew that what audiences really wanted to see was a bear jacked up on cocaine causing murder and mayhem through the forest. She manages to tell both stories in a cohesive and entertaining way. Banks has officially solidified herself as a great action movie director in a mostly male dominated category while staying true to herself and delivering exactly what she promised.

Cocaine Bear could have been a disaster, but with its tight run time, appropriate amount of gore, proper visual effects (props to Wētā FX for providing a great bear), comedic timing, it is a hit. Cocaine Bear is officially an action movie icon.

Brittany Fernandez is a Lifestyle Writer for SoBros Network. She’s a Nashville native covering events on the local scene, B-movie horror reviews, and everything in between. Her go-to karaoke song is “No Diggity.” Follow on Twitter: @brittbutspooky

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