Cocaine Bear comes home this week in a new “Maximum Rampage Edition” Blu-ray, including an alternate ending, deleted scenes, and feature commentary with director Elizabeth Banks, which we will break down in this review.
The wildly entertaining film is inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, the missing cocaine that he allegedly threw from the plane to the Georgia forest below, and the 500-pound black bear that ate it and went on a coke-fueled odyssey of violence.
The movie is a dark comedy set inside a horror film, where the blood sprays unsparingly even as the laughs flow just as freely, making for one exhilarating ride, a tonal roller coaster that you can’t take your eyes off of.
The Blu-ray set that we were provided comes in an embossed slipcase with the same art as the main disc case cover, and includes a Blu-ray disc, DVD disc, and digital code.
Read on for some of the highlights that we learned from the feature commentary track with director Elizabeth Banks and her husband/producer Max Handelman:
- The opening song (“Jane” by Jefferson Airplane) is an homage to Wet Hot American Summer, Banks’ feature debut.
- It is truly very rare for a black bear to attack people, as opposed to a brown bear grizzly, which can be deadly.
- The NBC News story at the beginning of the film is the actual news segment that aired in 1985 when the real life incident occurred.
- At the early crime scene where Andrew Thornton’s body has been discovered, Banks says that everything from the lineup of cars to the position of the victim was taken directly from the actual crime scene photos. The police report was also used to recreate details, such as the exact items that were found on Thornton.
- Banks says she never saw the bear as the “bad guy,” but that Ray Liotta’s character Syd is the movie’s true villain.
- Universal asked them to “age up” the two young kids who eat cocaine early in the film, but Banks says she knew it would be funny based on young characters from films like Stand By Me finding themselves in decidedly adult situations despite their age. She was surprised when she watched the scene with parents that it played like a horror film to them. Henry’s final sniff was adlibbed by young actor Christian Convery.
- Eddie’s emotional journey is the most important arch in the movie for Banks.
- The ponytailed gang member’s death scene is an homage to Pulp Fiction when Vincent Vega’s gun accidentally fires and shoots someone in the head.
- Banks’ goal for any movie is that the following Halloween people are dressing up as the characters.
- While a decision was made to pull back on some of the gore “late in the game,” Banks says that it was not her decision and that she would have gone full-on gore every time if were up to here, proclaiming, “I love gore.”
You can check out our breakdown of the Maximum Rampage Edition additional bonus features below.
- The Alternate Ending has very little to it, and does not bring anything significant to theatrical cut, just one more mild laugh.
- There are a total of three Deleted & Extended Scenes, including an alternate intro to Keri Russell’s character Sari in which she must remove a vacuum cleaner hose from a man’s anus, extended flirting between Ranger Liz ( played by Margot Martindale) and Peter (Jess Tyler Ferguson), and Sari and Henry (Christian Convery) crossing a river after Henry explains that he can’t swim and Sari has him talk about the Rocky movies in order to distract him,
- The Gag Reel shows how much fun the cast had on set but, as is often the case, we feel the best bloopers are likely still in a vault somewhere.
- All Roads Lead to Cokey: The Making of COCAINE BEAR is a nine-minute featurette on the ensemble brought together to bring the movie of what is soon to be the world’s most famous bear to life.
- UnBEARable Bloodbath: Dissecting the Kills is around eight minutes and focuses on the unique death scenes presented by the insane premise, from rigging to special effects makeup, to some of the actors doing their own stunts.
- In the four-minute Doing Lines featurette, cast and filmmakers read lines from the script featuring their characters, as the completed scenes are shown.
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