Movie Review: ‘Last Rampage’

In July of 1978, a convicted murderer named Gary Tison escaped from an Arizona State prison, with the help of his three sons and cell mate, Randy Greenawalt. Nearly 40 years later, Last Rampage recounts these events and the few days afterward as Gary and his new gang evade the law and try to make a run for the border, leaving death and destruction in their wake. It is a harrowing tale that will likely delight true crime enthusiasts.

Robert Patrick (arguably the more interesting terminator in the second Terminator movie) is the downright despicable Gary Tison, talking endlessly about his faith while killing innocent men, women, and children. Patrick does a fantastic job, though Tison is very unlikable. By his side are his incredibly loyal sons, who believe his religious psycho-babble, even after they witness him kill, more or less. They help Tison and his cell mate escape from a prison with very lax security and spend the next few days trying to overcome one blunder after another. If this movie wasn’t based on true events, I would question how they escaped and stayed free as long as they did.

Aside from the criminals and the law closing in on them, the movie also includes Tison’s wife, played by the unrecognizable Heather Graham as she deals with his escape and the media that is desperate for her story, with one in particular breaking through, a young lady played by Castle’s daughter, Molly O’Quinn. They have several scenes together and go back and forth with how cordial they are with each other. These scenes don’t really move the story along, but they help balance the grit and give insight into just how far family loyalty reaches.

If you enjoy true crime stories, this would be a good movie for you. I did a little research after watching the film, as I had never heard of this “infamous” incident or the events that followed, and it seems to follow all accounts fairly accurately. The film is directed beautifully by Dwight Little, whose previous credits include Murder at 1600, Marked for Death, and episodes of some of my favorite television series, including The Practice, Arrow, and Agents of Shield; and I am just now reading in his bio that he did a version of Phantom of the Opera with Robert Englund, which I cannot believe I didn’t know about (you can bet I’m going to seek that out soon).

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