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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Cocaine Bear (Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


A large black bear feeds on drug traffickers' dropped cargo of cocaine and goes on a rampage in this dark comedy from director Elizabeth Banks.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Cocaine Bear from director Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels, Pitch Perfect 2) is an exercise in the absurd. Based on true events that have garnered their own documentary on Peacock, the story follows the travails of a group of drug traffickers (including Ray Liotta in one of his last films, and O’Shea Jackson Jr.), a mother (Keri Russell) with her daughter (Brooklynn Prince) and her friend (Christian Convery), a park ranger (Margo Martindale) and detective (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) who find themselves fighting to survive against a raging black bear in a Georgia forest that has become addicted to cocaine that was dropped by a drug trafficker’s airplane.

This is dark comedy at its most insane and goriest. There are kills in Cocaine Bear that rival those of a slasher film, but the way they play out with such ludicrousness helps to moderate the violence. The comedy takes center stage in this film, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. gets some of the best lines. Thankfully, Banks keeps the action rolling along at a quick pace so one never has time to think too hard about discrepancies or, you know, suspension of disbelief. It is all popcorn action, absurd violence, and of course, a jacked up black bear that looks better than one could hope for thanks to some good CGI work.

  • Keri Russell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Margo Martindale in Cocaine Bear (2023)
  • Keri Russell in Cocaine Bear (2023)
  • Cocaine Bear (2023)
  • Cocaine Bear (2023)
  • Cocaine Bear Blu-ray Combo (Universal)
  • Cocaine Bear Blu-ray Combo (Universal)

The Video

Cocaine Bear was shot on the Arri Alexa LF with Arri Signature Prime lenses in 4.5K and utilizes a 4K digital intermediate, which is downscaled to 2K for this Blu-ray release. The film is available in 4K with Dolby Vision on Peacock and digital platforms and on 4K Ultra HD disc in the UK. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. Universal is (for now) only releasing a Blu-ray and DVD.

The Blu-ray looks pristine and offers lots of textures and minute details. The individual strands of fur on the coked-up black bear are easily seen. Shadows are also nuanced and extended, while color looks correct.

The Audio

Cocaine Bear comes with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that is downmixed to 5.1 on my configuration. This mix has deep, resounding low end, and wide panning across the front. The dynamics are excellent, and dialogue is clear over the fray of audio effects.

The Supplements

There are brief featurettes and a “making-of” in addition to an alternate ending and over four-minutes of deleted and extended scenes that continue the insanity. The audio commentary with director Elizabeth Banks and producer Max Handelman is the key inclusion.

  • Movies Anywhere Digital Code
  • DVD with Feature Film and Bonus Features
  • Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Elizabeth Banks and Producer Max Handelman
  • Alternate Ending (1080p; 00:00:48)
  • Gag Reel (1080p; 00:01:54)
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (1080p; 00:04:33)
  • All Roads Lead to Cokey: The Making of Cocaine Bear (1080p; 00:09:14)
  • Unbearable Bloodbath: Dissecting the Kills (1080p; 00:08:16)
  • Doing Lines (1080p; 00:04:00)

The Final Assessment

Turn off your mind, relax, and let the absurdity reign with this gory dark comedy, which looks and sounds great on Blu-ray.

Cocaine Bear is out on Blu-ray Combo April 18, 2023 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

  • Rating Certificate: R (for bloody violence and gore, drug content and language throughout)
  • Studios & Distributors: Universal Pictures | Brownstone Productions | Lord Miller | Peacock | Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Director: Elizabeth Banks
  • Written By: Jimmy Warden
  • Run Time: 95 Mins.
  • Street Date: 18 April 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 7.1
  • Secondary Audio: Spanish DTS-HD MA 7.1 | French DTS 5.1 | DVS
  • Subtitles: English SDH | Spanish | French

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A large black bear feeds on drug traffickers' dropped cargo of cocaine and goes on a rampage in this dark comedy from director Elizabeth Banks. Cocaine Bear (Blu-ray Review)