When gangster Tommy Stompanato (Jay Richardson) is acquitted of murdering her sister, ex-cop Tara McCormick (Wendy Schumacher) gets justice her own way. She shoots him. Six times. In the middle of a crowded courtroom. Somehow, Tommy survives taking six bullets at point blank range while Tara is arrested and sent to prison.
In prison, Tara stands up to the usual collection of cruel inmates and predatory guards. She bonds with her cellmate, Josie (Shauna O’Brien). Josie may be a murderer but the only man she killed was her abusive husband so, like Tara, she had a good reason for committing her crime. Tara and Josie become so close that when an federal agent named O’Keefe (Tim Abell) offers to spring Tara from jail in return for her help in taking down Tommy, Tara demands that Josie receive a pardon as well.
After O’Keefe agrees to her demands, Tara leaves the prison with him. While they get busy at a safehouse, Tommy and his right-hand man, Ryker (Ross Hagen), arrange for Josie to be kidnapped from the prison. With Josie being held as a hostage, it’s time for a final confrontation between Tara and Tommy. There’s a “surprise” twist at the end so don’t you dare to tell anyone about the final ten minutes of Fugitive Rage.
Fugitive Rage may be a typical hyrbid of the action and women-in-prison genres but it’s also a Fred Olen Ray film, which means that it’s got even more nudity than expected and that it’s more self-aware of the conventions of the genre than some other films about women behind bars. There’s a lot that you can say about Fred Olen Ray’s style of filmmaking but no one will ever accuse him of taking himself too seriously and Fugitive Rage at least has a sense of humor about itself. It’s hard to watch scenes like the one where Tara guns down a crooked lawyer just because he’s a lawyer without thinking that Fugitive Rage is deliberately poking fun at itself.
Fugitive Rage ends with the promise that Tara and Josie are going to become the new “Thelma and Louise” but, as far as I know, Fugitive Rage never got a sequel. Instead, it just found a home on late night Cinemax.