A seasoned cast provides some added grist for “Last Rampage,” a solid, dramatized account of the flight of convicted murderer Gary Tison, who was sprung from an Arizona prison with the help of his three devoted teenage sons during summer 1978.
Veteran TV director Dwight H. Little cuts immediately to the chase with career criminal Tison (a brutally effective Robert Patrick) taking advantage of a weekend family visit to arrange for his sawed-off shotgun-toting boys to cut his life sentence short.
But shortly after enabling the escape of Tison and longtime cellmate Randy Greenawalt (an equally imposing Chris Browning), sons Donny (Alex MacNicoll), Ricky (Skyy Moore) and Ray (Casey Thomas Brown) learn some cold, hard truths about the man they grew up idealizing, thanks to their defensive mother (Heather Graham in a disheveled brown wig).
Adapted from a 1988 book by James W. Clarke, the screenplay by Alvaro Rodriguez (who co-wrote “Machete” with cousin Robert Rodriguez), may navigate some frequently traveled dusty back roads, but there’s sufficient grit in the telling.
While Little has a assembled a sharp ensemble, including Bruce Davison as the sheriff who hunts down the felons and the late John Heard as the prison warden, it’s ultimately the hardened intensity of Patrick’s commanding portrayal that gives “Last Rampage” its take-no-prisoners tautness.
Rating: R for some strong violence and language throughout
Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills