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A Good Day to Die Hard seems barely related to Die Hard, but it’s awfully similar to something else. Perhaps you’re familiar the works of Rainier Wolfcastle? He portrays comically intense men who shoot, stab, and suffocate any villain foolish enough to plot corrupt misdeeds. He’s a cartoonish parody of an action hero, in no small part because he is literally a cartoon character on The Simpsons. Despite that handicap, though, there are only two differences between Wolfcastle’s ridiculous films and this one: self-awareness and a third dimension.
I’ll admit to softening up to moments in A Good Day to Die Hard, much like a scorned lover might be tricked into a one-night stand with an ex. A sardonic line here, a wry glance there, and I feel the tiniest inkling of what made Die Hard great. In brief spurts, Willis wrings the last few drops of wit out of McClane, even if he can’t will himself to utter the character’s famously explicit catchphrase without exasperated disdain. Once in a while, the movie’s outrageous action sequences aren’t sliced into a rapid, dizzying mess, but, rather, edited as a consistent narrative that organizes and explains what’s seen on screen. And, most praiseworthy of all, John McClane’s son is not played by Shia LeBeouf.
Make no mistake, though — A Good Day to Die Hard is a joke, a ridiculous blue-and-orange tinted eyesore. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a leisure suit. Do not see this movie. Instead, get your hands on a copy of Die Hard — that spectacular, as-close-to-perfect-as-it-gets original — and watch it at home. I promise you, from the bottom of my heart, it is a better choice. If you still aren’t swayed, try following these instructions before heading to the movie theater: Estimate how much a ticket costs (plus popcorn and a drink, if you really want to treat yourself), take that money out of your wallet, and immediately set it on fire. That way, at least you’ll realize you’re wasting it.