Kersey returns to New York again, this time planning to settle down with a new girlfriend. But the girlfriend is involved in a mob case involving her ex-husband, a vicious mobster against whom the police want her to testify. When the mobster's goons disfigure her in a bid to keep her from testifying, Paul is warned by the cops not to return to his vigilante ways. But things go straight to hell when the girlfriend is gunned down, the mobster is "cleared" of all charges, and the girlfriend's daughter is kidnapped despite Kersey's best efforts to protect her, and Kersey must take the law into his own hands one more time for a final showdown.
This film provides examples of:
- Acid Pool: Tommy O'Shea becomes Kersey's final kill in this fashion.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: During their final showdown, O'Shea tries to do this with Kersey.Paul: Guns make you nervous?O'Shea: You want me to beg, you son of a bitch? Please. PLEASE!
- An Ass-Kicking Christmas: The action takes place around Christmastime.
- Bald of Evil: Frankie, one of O'Shea's henchmen with a distinctive gravelly voice.
- Big Bad: Tommy O'Shea.
- Big "NO!": Freddie Flakes' last words before being blown up and burned to death by a remote controlled soccer ball, controlled by Paul:Freddie: Nooooooooooooooooooo!!! [Paul detonates the soccer ball]
- The Big Rotten Apple: A version of New York City where organized crime secretly controls legitimate businesses and police has no clue.
- Black Dude Dies First: The first person to die in the film is Reg, a black employee who works for Olivia Regent. Tommy O'Shea finds out that he talked to the police, he and the Paconi Brothers find Reg and torture him in retaliation. Sal and Chicki burn his hands and his face with a shirt presser. After that, Sal kicks Reg twice before Chicki takes out a gun and kills him by shooting him execution style.Chicki Paconi: Good night, bitch. [Chicki fires his gun]
- The Brute: Tommy O'Shea's two most loyal men, the Paconi brothers, fall under this trope, Chicki especially.
- Cartwright Curse/Disposable Woman: Of course Olivia gets killed off shortly after she and Paul get engaged (despite the brief Hope Spot that it will merely be her injury that motivates Paul this time at first), sparking yet another revenge quest for him.
- Co-Dragons: Sal and Chicki Paconi to Tommy O'Shea.
- Creepy Crossdresser: One of the villains is Fredrick "Freddie Flakes" Garrity (not at all played by Sid the coroner from CSI: NY), a high-priced mob assassin (nicknamed because of his frequent dandruff) who not only crossdresses during one of his schemes, but later, when hanging out with his girlfriend, comments her shoes, saying he can't wait to see how they fit. (He also has what is quite possibly the stupidest death of the series, immolated by an exploding soccer ball).
- Darker and Edgier: Every single murder in this movie is Gorn.
- Deadly Remote Control Toy: One of Kersey's kills during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge is performed with a remote-controlled soccer ball full of explosives. The goon he kills picks it up puzzled when he notices it rolling on its own towards him and has a few seconds to crap his pants when he sees Kersey holding the remote control. See Big "NO!" above.
- Delicious Distraction: Chicki Paconi has a huge liking for canolis, which unfortunately leads to his downfall, in which he is killed when Kersey sprinkles cyanide all over the canoli that he is eating.
- Destination Defenestration: Freddie kills Big Al, who was supposed to expose O'Shea's illegal dealings with a wiretap, by ramming him with his car, which sends Al flying through a restaurant window.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The finale of the series is probably the most upbeat ending. Paul wipes out all the criminals, avenging Olivia, saves and regains custody of Chelsea and parts on good terms with the police, telling Lieutenant King to call if he ever needs help.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Sal Paconi is left discouraged and somewhat depressed after his brother Chicki, is killed.
- Everyone Is Armed: A kid with a message runs inside a church that's holding a funeral service. Since the service is for a member of O'Shea's organization, the church is filled with jumpy criminals who pull a gun on the kid when he comes inside.
- False Reassurance: Happens twice.
Tommy: Big tub of guts, I think you oughta have Dr. O'Shea's one second weight loss. [Tommy turns the saw back on]Al: No! No!Sal Paconi: [restraining Al] Hey, hey, hey, hey.Chicki Paconi: [pointing a gun at Al's head] Don't move fat man!Sal Paconi: I think Al's got the message here don't you Al? Huh? Don't you? Well don't you? [Tommy cuts into the side of Al's stomach with the saw]
- The first time it happens when Tommy O'Shea and the Paconi Brothers are getting ready to torture Big Al, one of their associates who works for Olivia Regent. Tommy turns on an electric saw, and is just about to cut into Al's stomach, when he suddenly turns the saw off. He tells Al to relax, leading Al to think that he's going to be okay, then, Tommy lifts up Al's shirt and sees the size of Al's stomach before the following is said:
Sal Paconi: Chicki, we'll meet you and Reg down in the car. [Sal leaves]Chicki Paconi: Get up, get up! [takes a gun from his pocket and points it at Reg's head][Reg struggles in pain from the burns he has]Chicki Paconi: Good night, bitch. [Chicki shoots Reg in the head]
- The second time happens with Reg, another employee of Olivia Regent. Ironically, Reg had witnessed what O'Shea and the Paconi Brothers had done to Al. After Sal slashed Reg's cheek with a knife, Reg goes to the police. When O'Shea and the Paconi Brothers find out about this, they find Reg, and when Reg refuses to say who he talked to, O'Shea tells Sal and Chicki to 'do what they want with him.' Sal and Chicki burn Reg's hands and face with a shirt presser, and after Sal kicks Reg twice, the following occurs, which gives a bit of reassurance that they are going to let Reg live:
- Fashion Show: The movie opens with one, with plenty of shots of Fanservice Extras changing their clothes.
- Fatal Flaw: Similar to Delicious Distraction, Chicki Paconis addiction to canolis is what leads to his death at the hands of Paul Kersey.
- Forklift Fu: Reversed; Kersey rides around in a forklift shooting, then moves out of sight. The forklift then comes on a kamikaze course for the gang of thugs only for them to realise at the last minute it's just full of boxes instead this time.
- Friend or Foe: Sal Paconi accidentally shoots his own henchman, who's wrapped in a tape by Paul.
- Grand Finale: This was the last of the Death Wish movies, until the 2018 remake with Bruce Willis happened. And while this was not Charles Bronson's final movie overall before his death in 2003 (the Family of Cops trilogy) it was his final theatrical role.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Kersey breaks a bottle and uses it to cut Tommy O'Shea's face in retaliation for what one of O'Shea's goons had done to Kersey's girlfriend earlier in the film.
- Ironic Echo:
Paul: You got a problem? [Paul pushes Chicki's face onto the table]
- When Kersey kills Chicki Paconi by poisoning his cannoli, the last words that Chicki hears are the words that he said to Kersey in their first encounter:
Paul: Guns make you nervous?
- The second one occurs in the climax. After Paul slashes Tommy's face with a broken bottle and aims his gun at him, he asks the same question that Tommy gave him in the beginning:
- Man on Fire: Happens to Freddie Flakes when Paul blows him up with a remote control soccer ball. After detonating the bomb, Paul watches as Freddie screams as he burns alive. Paul leaves just as Freddie dies.
- MayDecember Romance: Charles Bronson (Paul Kersey) was 33 years older than Lesley-Anne Down (Olivia Regent)
- Of Corsets Sexy: The fashion show starts with three women wearing corsets and sheer skirt and stockings.
- One-Woman Wail: The main theme.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner:Tommy O'Shea: Wait, listen. Whatever you want. Whatever you need...
Paul Kersey: I don't need anything. But you... you need a bath.
- Pretty in Mink: Chicki Paconi accosts a woman in a fur coat.
- Psychotic Smirk: Kersey sports one when he blows up Freddie Flakes with the soccer ball.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The movie has Kersey trying to settle down with another girlfriend until the bad guys she's trying to testify against disfigure her and later shoot her in the back.
- Sequel Escalation: Paul Kersey faces a smaller number of opponents, but kills them in more creative and sadistic ways.
- Showgirl Skirt: The fashion show starts with some women wearing sheer skirts with their corsets.
- Smug Snake: Tommy O'Shea, the Big Bad. A slimy, Irish mobster, he always manges to escape prosecution because he has a mole in the D.A's office but once Kersey gets his sights on him, he acts like its' a minor annoyance. Even when his dragon Chicki warns him not to underestimate Kersey, O'Shea is far too confident in his plans. Sadly, his overconfidence proved to be his undoing, as he wasn't savvy enough to realize he was a villain in a Death Wish movie and therefore, doomed.
- Tranquil Fury: When Paul says his badass line to the revolver-wielding Chicki, Chicki is not very happy with it...
- Weapon for Intimidation: Chicki Paconi has a big revolver as his Weapon of Choice, using it to intimidate one of O'Shea's incompetent workers, and later Paul Kersey, only to Kersey say one of his badass lines in the movie.
- Wretched Hive: New York City is featured as having an organized crime problem and an ineffectual police.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Sal Paconi, after he runs out of bullets and Kersey aims his gun at him in the climax, puts down the gun and attempts to dissuade him into not killing him, only to pull out a switchblade hidden behind his head and making a sharp move with it, forcing Kersey to shoot him.