Erica Sheldon, the teenage daughter of Karen Sheldon, Paul Kersey's current girlfriend, goes with her boyfriend, Randy Viscovich to an arcade to meet up with a man named JoJo Ross and another buddy, Jesse Winters. JoJo offers her crack cocaine, and Erica dies from an overdose. Having seen Erica smoke a joint with Randy while in his car the previous night, Paul suspects Randy was involved with Erica's death, so he follows him to the arcade. Randy confronts JoJo and threatens to go to the police. JoJo murders Randy to prevent this. Paul promptly shoots JoJo, who falls onto the roof of the bumper-car ride and is fatally electrocuted. At home, Paul receives a package indicating the sender knows he's "the vigilante," and a phone call threatening to go to the police if Paul won't meet. Paul is taken to the mansion of the secretive tabloid publisher Nathan White. Nathan says that his daughter became addicted to drugs and eventually died of an overdose, so he wants to hire Paul to wipe out the drug trade in LA. There are two major gangs competing for the local drug supply: one led by Ed Zacharias, the other by brothers Jack and Tony Romero. Kersey accepts and Nathan supplies him with weapons and information. Meanwhile, LA detectives Sid Reiner and Phil Nozaki investigate the arcade deaths.
Paul infiltrates Zacharias's manor as a party bartender. After bugging a phone, he witnesses Zacharias murder a colleague who has stolen a big deal of cocaine from the cartel's South American connection. Zacharias discovers Paul but doesn't realize why he's there. He then orders Paul to help carry out the dead body, motioning to his henchman, Al Arroyo, to kill Paul when they're done. After Paul helps put the corpse in the trunk of a car, he kills Arroyo with the car's trunk cover and escapes. Paul proceeds to kill three of Ed Zacharias's favored hitmen at a restaurant with a bomb concealed in a wine bottle. He kills drug dealer Max Green, leader of Romeros' street dealers, disguised as a sex video trader. He confronts the Romeros's top hitman Frank Bauggs (David Wolos-Fonteno) in order to find out more about their cartel. A fight ensues and Bauggs ends up being thrown through his apartment window and falls from his high rise apartment patio to his death. A few days later, Nathan instructs Paul to go to San Pedro, Los Angeles, where a local fisherman wharf acts as a front for Zacharias's drug operations. Breaking in, Paul kills eight more criminals and blows up the drug processing room with a bomb. Detective Nozaki reveals himself to be a corrupt cop working for Zacharias, and demands that Paul tell him who he works for. Paul refuses and kills him. He lures Zacharias and the Romero brothers into a trap, leading to a shootout in an oil field in which both cartels are completely destroyed. Paul personally kills Zacharias with a suppressed and scoped high-powered rifle. Nathan congratulates Paul, but sets him up with a car bomb, which Paul narrowly escapes. Enraged, Paul returns to the White Manor only to find a stranger who claims to be the real Nathan White; the impersonator who hired Paul was actually a third drug lord who used him to dispose of the rival cartels. Paul is approached by two cops, who arrest him, but he recognizes them as fakes, causes their car to flip over and flees.
To get rid of Paul, the Nathan White impersonator kidnaps and uses Karen as a bait. Detective Reiner waits inside Paul's apartment to kill him out of vengeance for Nozaki's alleged murder, but Paul knocks him out. He arms himself with an M16 with an M203 grenade launcher and goes to the meeting place designated by the drug lord, the parking lot of White's commercial building. The car rolls forward and the drug dealers spray it with bullets before realizing that Paul's not in it. Paul fires a grenade, destroying a van full of bandits, then fires another to kill Jesse (the pseudo-Nathan White's chief henchman) as he betrays his crew and tries to drive away. Paul follows White into a roller rink and decimates the rest of his drug gang, but the drug lord escapes through a back door, still holding Karen hostage. Karen attempts to escape, but the drug lord shoots from behind and kills her. Distraught over Karen's death and realizing that White has run out of bullets, Paul fires a last grenade that finishes him off. Reiner arrives and orders him to surrender, threatening to shoot as Paul walks away. Paul replies, "Do whatever you have to", and Reiner lets him go.
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