Cocaine Bear is a film with a strange mixture of comedy and violence. When a pilot jettisons packets of cocaine he’s smuggling, they fall into a national forest and are discovered by a black bear who promptly eats and sniffs the drug. The bear becomes violently aggressive and kills eight people before the movie ends.
While the bear rampages, the human characters engage in verbal repartee that tends to produce smiles as opposed to belly laughs. Of course, there’s really nothing funny about the blood and gore we see. The violence blunts the force of the comedy, and this viewer at least was left with a disorienting anomie.
The film did hold my attention; and it was technically well-done, but it wasn’t worth the $25.00 I paid Amazon to own and view Cocaine Bear. Why did I waste my money? In an episode of The View Whoopi Goldberg and company interviewed the director, Elizabeth Banks, born in nearby Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Banks, a successful actress, is trying to establish a new career as a director in a male-dominated field. Although I think Cocaine Bear was a directorial success, it’s a pity that Banks had to follow her male colleagues in making such a commercial film.
By the way, there was a real Cocaine Bear, but the animal died a few minutes after ingesting a prodigious amount of the drug. In fact, the carcass of the bear is on display at the Fun Mall in Lexington, Kentucky.
In reality, deadly bear attacks are rare. In all of North America from 2000—2017 there have been 48 fatalities from such attacks. Mass shootings in the U.S. alone have claimed over 200 lives in the 3 ½ months of 2023. There are so many that I personally can’t even recall the major incidents. It appears that going to the local Walmart or a U.S. elementary school is far more dangerous than trekking in the wild.
~ Richard Russell
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