Drifting as far from Michael Winner's original and interesting 1974 Death Wish as possible, this belated sequel in an often ugly series is nevertheless a harmless, fairly conventional thriller featuring a watchable cast. After his life of loss and misery at the hands of criminals, vigilante Paul Kersey is ready to settle down in romantic bliss with a fashion designer named Olivia (Lesley-Anne Down). Unfortunately, the lady happens to be the target of her mobster ex-husband (Michael Parks), who has a tight grip on New York's garment district. Disfigured and finally murdered by her former spouse, Olivia is avenged in very creative ways by Paul, who resorts to such esoterica as using a remote-controlled soccer ball to deliver an explosive punishment. Bronson largely phones it in for this potboiler, though even in the winter of his life he can look quite compelling in his stoic way. Helping to keep things interesting is Parks's kinky cruelty and Saul Rubinek's vaguely bemused performance as a well-meaning prosecutor. --Tom Keogh
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