Review: 'Last Rampage', The Bloody True Story Of Gary Tison's Final Weeks

There is a certain aura around movies that tell true stories. I’m not talking about films that are ‘inspired by true events’ – whatever that means – or movies based on true events. I’m talking about true stories. Last Rampage is one of those films that tells the story of real events, and when you remember that, it sends a chill through your body.

Last Rampage
depicts the prison escape of Gary Tison (Robert Patrick) and Randy Greenwalt (Chris Browning) from an Arizona State Penitentiary in 1978 with the help from Gary’s three sons, and the harrowing few weeks that follow. As you may garner from the title, the film is not one happy-go-lucky tale of family bonding – it is a disturbing account of lunatics on the run, and the destruction they leave behind. The film does not go into much detail about Gary Tison or Randy Greenwalt’s pasts other than mentioning murder a few times. These men are clearly deranged and dangerous.

The film begins by showing Tison and Greenwalt’s prison escape. One may wonder how two prisoners who were both serving life sentences would even be in a position to break out of prison. Tison and Greenwalt had been transferred to a low security area of the Arizona State Penitentiary due to excellent behavior. This terrible mistake by the prison and their staff allowed for Tison’s three sons Donnie (Alex MacNicoll), Ricky (Skyy Moore), and Ray (Casey Thomas Brown) to break their father and his fellow prisoner out of the penitentiary in broad daylight. Their plan works perfectly and before word of the prison break gets out, the group is miles away hiding out in a cabin.

While all of this is happening, Gary’s wife Dorothy (Heather Graham) is being hounded by reporters and the police who are all trying to get some information about Gary and the boys. Dorothy wholeheartedly believes that Gary is not a monster and is just misunderstood. Gary has his whole family brainwashed as Donnie, Ricky, and Ray also seemingly worship their father and follow his orders without question. Everything is going according to plan until one flat tire leads to a spiral of death and destruction and the Tison boys get a glimpse of the monster that their father really is.

Last Rampage is a tense drama that does a fantastic job of telling the story of Gary Tison’s escape from prison and the weeks to follow. Director Dwight H. Little manages to capture the vile nature of Tison and Greenwalt as they make their way down south to Mexico. The relationship between Gary and his sons is a vital piece to the story and the maturation of this relationship is incredibly interesting to watch unfold. Last Rampage portrays a chilling story perfectly and is an enjoyable watch, regardless of how unsettling its source material may be.

Rating: 4 out of 5