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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

REVIEW: Cocaine Bear storms onto silver screen


A bear … did cocaine.

This was the amazingly succinct tagline of the new film directed by Elizabeth Banks, “Cocaine Bear.”

Exaggerated from a true story where an actual bear consumed close to 40 plastic containers of cocaine, “Cocaine Bear” postulates what may have happened in the few hours following this coke-binge.

In its one-hour 35-minute runtime, “Cocaine Bear” offers a story told from the perspective of characters that seemingly cannot triumph against an insurmountable opponent. The carnage that ensued following this radical coke-consumption could be compared to that of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film, Jaws.” But, in this case, the predator was on drugs.

The movie begins with a drug dealer tossing cocaine out of an airplane, making some sort of supply drop. After this dealer throws around 10 coke-bags out of the airplane, he jumps out, bangs his head and falls to an untimely death.

Following this, by pure coincidence, a bear comes across the bags. And … the bear did cocaine.

One of my favorite parts about this movie was the dialogue. With expertly delivered lines like, “The bear … it loves cocaine,” and “Put the gun down and step away from the teenager,” “Cocaine Bear” writer, Jimmy Warden was certainly committed to blending comedic action and spoken word into his script.

In one of Ray Liotta’s final performances, he played “Syd,” a pessimistic drug dealer who sought to kill the bear. In his career, something that Liotta always did well was play a good scumbag. Whether it be through “Goodfellas” or “The Many Saints of Newark,” Liotta knew how to play a bad guy. His character was a terrible father, a scourge to society and a bear-hater. And, eventually, he got what he deserved as one of cocaine bear’s many victims.

The performance I enjoyed the most came from actor Isiah Whitlock Jr., who played an unwitting police officer that lawfully pursued Liotta’s character. His character, Bob, provided consistent comedic relief through off-putting dog-related questions and incompetence in regards to law enforcement. Bob was a simple man, and his dialogue was ingeniously funny because it played into exactly that.

The movie made me laugh out loud multiple times. “Cocaine Bear” seemed to suggest that a bear did cocaine then decided to go on a murdering spree, just because. It was an apex predator, like Yogi Bear, but instead of stealing pic-a-nic baskets, it was railing coke and killing campers. 

While this movie was nothing close to realistic, I think “Cocaine Bear” could have benefited from being even more outlandish. A big theme was that the bear couldn’t be stopped, so I say, why not make the scale bigger? I would have liked to see the bear take over the White House. I think it would be cool to see cocaine bear trample Marquette campus in a coke-filled rage.

Although, through these gripes, I appreciate this movie for what it did.

“Cocaine Bear” almost made more money in its opening week than Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” a film produced by one of the biggest companies and movie franchises in the world. I like to see The Mouse go down every once in a while, and “Cocaine Bear” did just that. 

It’s impressive that “Cocaine Bear” did these numbers, it shows that people want to see original ideas play out on the big screen. “Cocaine Bear” exemplified that movie-goers do not want to solely see the same recycled action movie every time they go to theaters.

I believe “Cocaine Bear” was successful because it was simple, funny, bloody and coke-filled. If people wanted to turn their brains off and have a good laugh, they could watch this movie. I think, going into this film, many knew that they weren’t going to have their minds blown. 

A bear … did cocaine, and that’s what this movie gave us.

This story was written by George Kane. He can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
George Kane
George Kane, Production Assistant
George Kane is a sophomore from Trumbull, Connecticut majoring in digital media. In his free time, he enjoys playing ultimate frisbee and watching movies. He is a production assistant for MUTV and incredibly excited to get to work and make some great stuff.

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