Universal decided to take a swing for the fences and make some relatively low budget horror movies. With movies such as The Black Phone (2021), Violent Night (2022), M3GAN (2022), Knock at the Cabin (2023), and now Cocaine Bear, all ranging between $1-20 million dollars in budget, their “risk” to create mostly original horror/horror-comedy hybrids has paid off more than anyone could’ve anticipated. Audiences are hungry for original content and, more over, original horror content, and it shows that with the right ideas, even the wildest and craziest ideas can spawn off to create something truly special. While two of those aforementioned titles are adaptations of either novels or short stories, the original concepts also hold their own ground and provide audiences with something magnificent. Cocaine Bear stands as a “horror comedy” as director Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels) has stated, but also as one of the final projects of beloved actor Ray Liotta (Muppets Most Wanted).
Cocaine Bear focuses on exactly what the title suggests, a bear that took cocaine (based on a true story) after Andrew C. Thornton II (Matthew Rhys) had to dump an insane amount of cocaine that he was smuggling out of a plane as the plane was going down. The duffle bags of cocaine ended up in a Georgia forest where Dee Dee (Brooklynn Prince) and Henry (Christian Convery) are out playing hooky from school for the day. Dee Dee’s mom, Sari (Keri Russell), gets a call from school telling her that her daughter hasn’t shown up, and she knows exactly where to look for her and Henry. This is where Sari meets Ranger Liz (Margo Martindale), who’s determined to find these kids, take out the gang of teenagers who keep screwing with her, and make the park safe again from the cocaine bear. While all of this is happening, Syd (Ray Liotta) tasks Daveed (O’Shea Jackson Jr) and his son Eddie (Alden Ehrenreich) with finding his missing cocaine. However, aside from the bear stealing the supply, they’re not alone as Detective Bob Springs (Isiah Whitlock Jr), who is aware of who Andrew C. Thornton II is and knows that this cocaine is now somewhere, is also on the hunt. To put it bluntly, it’s a race against the clock as the gangsters have to contend with the detective, the kids have to contend with being safe, and Sari and Ranger Liz have to find the kids and protect the park, all while there is a bear literally high on cocaine.
While Hunter Heilman does go further in depth into his thoughts on the film (which I agree with), I will now dive into the home release side of the movie. While I am a Canadian resident, the product was requested for the American release date, but it was delayed and timed for the Canadian shelf date (May 23rd). There is also a slight difference between the Canadian and American editions, solely being relayed in the digital code aspect, as the Canadian version does not come with a digital copy but still comes with the DVD and the Blu-ray. As mentioned in previous home release reviews, I really do not understand the appeal in raising prices on the consumer to include a DVD and relegate a 4K UHD release all together, but alas, I won’t be a broken record. With the recent streaming news that has come out regarding content (originals nonetheless) being removed from streaming platforms, I will always advocate for the purchasing of physical media for a film that you enjoy. While Cocaine Bear certainly is not going to change anyone’s outlook on life, it is 95 minutes of pure un-adulterated fun.
This home release is being dubbed the Maximum Rampage edition, presumably because of the special features. Out of the six features plus a commentary track, the “non-standard” features are the least fun part of the bonus content while “The Making of” and “Dissecting the Kills” features are the most engaging and entertaining, the latter because watching a roughly 10-minute feature about the grizzly (no pun intended) deaths in Cocaine Bear is pure hilarious entertainment. While Cocaine Bear may not be a necessity on day one, with the way the streaming world is shaping up, and with licensing regarding digital ownership has always been iffy, adding this drugged out bear to your physical media shelf is a no-brainer if you enjoy the wildly entertaining without mental exercise comedy itself.
Cocaine Bear Special Features:
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted & Extended Scenes
- Gag Real
- All Roads Lead to Cokey: The Making of Cocaine Bear
- UnBEARable Bloodbath: Dissecting the Kills
- Doing Lines
- Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks and Producer Max Handelman
Available on digital-to-own and on Peacock April 14th, 2023.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD in the United States April 18th, 2023.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD in Canada May 23rd, 2023.
Categories: Home Release, Recommendation
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