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7 Reasons to Skip "The Hunger Games" and See "Battle Royale" Tonight

If you have friends, someone has probably invited you to see the mega-hit "The Hunger Games." Or told you its entire plot over a water cooler when you just wanted to go home. Or engaged you in a philosophical discussion of its implications on contemporary feminism over organic coffee and gluten-free donuts. However, if you live your life on the internet and have virtually zero friends like me, you’ve probably noticed that a whole lot of people have compared it to a 12-year-old Japanese movie called "Battle Royale."

Tonight, Battle Royale will be playing, for the first time in San Francisco I should add, at The Castro in one of the wonderful Midnites for Maniacs triple-features. I’m sure I’m going to get an earful from "Hunger Games" fanatics out there, but here are the top 7 reasons that I’ll be seeing Battle Royale for the fourth time, instead of "The Hunger Games" for the first:

1. Better weapons. In THG, if you’re lucky, you can pick up a weapon from this futuristic bus station thingy called a ‘Cornucopia.’ In short… boring! In BR, each student is given a weapon at random at the beginning of the battle—when was the last time you saw someone decapitated with a frying pan?

2. Better rules. Do "The Hunger Games" have rules? THESE are the rules to "Battle Royale" (NSFW!).

3. I’d rather go to the Castro Theatre than the Westfield Mall. ‘Nuff said.

4. Futuristic feminism. If Katniss is the promise of third-wave feminism unfulfilled, "Battle Royale’s" Mitsuko is its unchecked id—raping, robbing and ripping apart boys (and girls) at her slightest whim.

5. Takashi ‘Beat’ Kitano’s scene-stealing role. A wigged-out Woody Harrelson (as Haymitch Abernathy) is a close second, but nothing compares to Beat’s grizzled, limping take on a 7th grade teacher who couldn’t care less that his students are blowing each other to smithereens.

6. More bad girls! Remember badass-chick-with-a-chain-whip Gogo Yubari from "Kill Bill"? Tarantino took his inspiration (and casting) directly from Chiaki Kuriyama’s character in "Battle Royale."

7. It's just more fun. THG might have the bigger budget by a longshot, but there’s a whole lot more “OH SNAP” moments in "Battle Royale" that’ll have you popping up in your seat and slapping the air at a ridiculous rate. Obviously if you’re one of the blood-shy among us, look elsewhere for your weekend entertainment, but if you were thinking of seeing "The Hunger Games," be advised: On Friday there’s a new game in town.

"Battle Royale" plays at 9:30 with the equally bizarre and blood-soaked Japanese sensation "Hausu" and "Lost in Translation" at Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street  San Francisco, (415) 621-6120.