By Daniel R. Durrett
A true tale from the 80s era of excess, just say no and finds its way to the silver screen. Not hard to find the humor in a bear on cocaine, unless you’re on the receiving end of teeth and claws. Smartly, seeing the lore surrounding the 1985 newscasts that covered the incident of a bear overdosing on cocaine, Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect, Hunger Games) has taken this story to new heights.
A story clawed from the headlines with a tad more cocaine sprinkled in for more than good measure. The great intersection of Banks’ story meets between humor and horror.
The ensemble cast proves this film is a much more worthy screening than its typical Syfy Network show’s storyline. The proper dramatic nature of the actors’ characterizations is what helps ground the film despite the campy portions of the plot.
Following the actual event, a smuggler dies in an accident delivering 15 million in cocaine by dumping it from an airplane before it crashes. The red bags filled with several wrapped kilos of cocaine over an area of Georgia and Tennessee in the mountains. Due to the parachutist’s death, the bags were left in the mountains where they were found by a black bear.
In hopes to recover the cocaine, the main dealer, who was waiting for his product to arrive Syd portrayed by Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Cop Land), in his final film. Tasks his senior employee, Daveed, portrayed O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton, Long Shot) to take his son with him to retrieve as many of the lost bags full of cocaine. That may be lost due to learning of the parachutist’s death.
Syd’s son, Eddie, Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story, Hail, Caesar!) is at a crossroads due to his wife’s recent death and may not be up for the task.
Ratcheting up the horror with humor and adding many cringeworthy moments to keep the plot moving forward at a proper Bolivian blow pace. Two kids play hooky sending a frantic mother played by Keri Russell (Waitress, Honey, I Blew Up the Baby) to enlist the park ranger portrayed by Margo Martindale (August: Osage County, Sneaky Pete) and her friend Peter played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family, Untraceable) in the search for the kids.
Rounding out the cast with the only sane reaction to a Bear on coke is the Detective working to get to the bottom of the dead parachutist, Bob depicted with a cop’s authority is an odd situation, Isiah Whitlock Jr. (BlacKkKlansman, Da 5 Bloods).
The 1980s connect in such an excellent connection for references and music that the film is way more fun than your traditional SyFy Horror romp. Well worth the price of admission to see a fun date movie.