Kersey uses the alias "Paul Kimble" in this film. He also used the pseudonymous surname of "Kimble" in Death Wish II (1982) and in Death Wish 3 (1985). (Though according to the book 'Bronson's Loose' by Paul Tablot, Death Wish 4 was intended as a direct sequel to Death Wish II, in the end the only reference to Death Wish II occurs in Kersey's reuse of the name Kimble as an alias, the references of his vigilantism after the death of his daughter, and his residence in Los Angeles.)
First 'Death Wish' movie to have a subtitle as part of its film title. The next and final sequel also had one: Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994). An intended but unfilmed sixth movie was also to have a subtitle: 'Death Wish 6: The New Vigilante'. The first three movies did not have a title subtitle.
This movie was the second of two pictures starring Charles Bronson that were released during 1987. This film was first released in the USA in November of that year whilst Bronson's Assassination (1987) was released stateside earlier, at the beginning in January.
This movie utilizes a storyline similar to that used in the classic Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo (1961). 'RetroJunk' writes that Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey "methodically eliminates gang members, first from one side and then the other, until one gang's paranoia about the other gang causes the two competitors to engage in a major confrontation that impacts both groups."
The release of this movie represented the shortest window between 'Death Wish' movie sequels. It was only about two years after Death Wish 3 (1985) whereas the third picture followed about three years after Death Wish II (1982) which had followed the original Death Wish (1974) after about eight years. Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994) was then not made for about another seven years.
The studio, Cannon, wanted a more muscular sounding score for the action scenes and decided to re-use much of the music from their past action efforts Missing in Action (1984) and Invasion U.S.A. (1985).
An earlier draft had Paul living in LA with a new girlfriend. She was subsequently murdered by crooks. Paul, fighting the urge to return to his vigilante ways, captures the crooks and hands them over to the police, but when the crooks walk on a technicality, Paul becomes the vigilante once more, and hunts them down. One by one. Cannon felt this take on the series was too cerebral and didn't feature enough action. Ultimately, a more conventional storyline was chosen.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The only 'Death Wish' sequel in which Paul Kersey does not revert to vigilantism due to an act of violence against a loved one. Erica (Kersey's girlfriend's daughter whose death motivates him to renew his sudden justice) died of a crack overdose from narcotics taken completely willingly. Technically, she did not get murdered and certainly did not get raped.