Sylvester Stallone is ready to step into Charles Bronson's shoes. Variety reports that Stallone is in talks to direct and star in a remake of Death Wish, to be scripted by Michael Ferris and John Brancato. That's the writing team responsible for The Net, The Game, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines -- and Catwoman. Draw your own conclusions, but with Stallone in the director's chair, this could be another project that ends up better than it initially sounds.

Michael Winner's 1974 original starred Charles Bronson as mild-mannered Paul Kersey, a New York City architect transformed into a killing machine meting out street justice after his wife is brutally murdered and his daughter is raped. Four sequels would follow over the next 20 years, but with Bronson's passing in 2003, the search for a successor was inevitable.

Early September saw two new vigilantes hit the screen: Kevin Bacon in Death Sentence, a straightforward and enjoyable revenge flick misunderstood to be a message movie, and Jodie Foster in The Brave One, which drew more direct comparisons to Death Wish because it was set in Manhattan. It's hard to imagine that a new Death Wish will try to be profound or offer anything new on the subject, but if it's well made and Stallone restrains himself a bit, that may be enough.

Stallone has been working hard on the comeback trail and made some major coin for the backers of Rocky Balboa. He also has Rambo due out on January 25, 2008, a release date that's normally a death wish of its own, but the trailer looks fairly awesome as an action pic. If Rambo hits big, this deal for Death Wish will generate even more excitement. And if Sly's Death Wish hits big, MGM is prepared to make it into a franchise for him, which could sustain Stallone well into his 70s (Bronson was in his early 70s when he made his last Death Wish). While you contemplate that thought, MGM is hoping to start production before March 2008.