Twenty years after pacifist-turned-vigilante Paul Kersey blasted his way through the first Death Wish melodrama, Death Wish V finds both the character and the franchise looking mighty tired. Bronson – still fit and fearsome at 72 – could play Kersey in his sleep. Indeed, there are one or two scenes where he appears to be doing just that.
Once again, Bronson is trying to live a reasonably nonviolent life, having promised d.a. Saul Rubinek and police detective Kenneth Walsh that he’s hung up his guns for good. Once again, he has found the love of a good woman – in this case, fashion designer Lesley-Anne Down.
The only difference this time is, instead of muggers, street gangs or drug dealers, the villains are slightly more upscale creeps. Down is killed by the goons of her ex-husband (Michael Parks), a smooth-talking mobster who’s bent on taking over the Manhattan garment district. That’s when Bronson gets the old revolver out of the wall safe.
As Death Wish pix go, this one – set in New York but filmed mostly in Toronto – has a surprisingly small body count. Canadian filmmaker, Allan A. Goldstein provides little that’s new in the way of revivifying plot innovations.