Predator 2
The Predator in the city, a human skull and spine in hand.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byStephen Hopkins
Written by
Based on
  • Jim Thomas
  •     John Thomas
Produced by
CinematographyPeter Levy
Edited by
Music byAlan Silvestri
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • November 21, 1990 (1990-11-21)
Running time
108 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20–30 million[1]
Box office$57.1 million[2]

Predator 2 is a 1990 American science fiction action film[3] written by brothers Jim and John Thomas, directed by Stephen Hopkins, and starring Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Ruben Blades, María Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Peter Hall. It is the second installment of the Predator franchise, and sequel to 1987's Predator, with Kevin Peter Hall reprising the title role of the Predator.

Set ten years after the events of the first film, in Los Angeles, Predator 2 focuses on a disgruntled police officer and his allies battling a malevolent and technologically advanced extraterrestrial known as the Predator.

Upon release, the film received generally negative reviews and earned a moderate box office return, grossing $57 million worldwide, compared to the previous film's $98 million gross on a smaller production budget. The film has been viewed more positively over time, especially for Danny Glover's performance, the direction, and the musical score, and has gained a cult following in the decades since its initial release.


In 1997, Los Angeles is experiencing a heat wave and a turf war between heavily armed Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels. A Predator watches a shootout between the police, Jamaicans, and Colombians, observing as Lieutenant Michael R. Harrigan charges into the firefight to rescue two wounded officers and drive the Colombians back into their hideout. The Predator assaults the Colombians, causing a disturbance that prompts Harrigan and detectives Leona Cantrell and Danny Archuleta to defy orders and enter the hideout, where they find the slaughtered Colombians. On the roof, Harrigan shoots the crazed gang leader and catches a glimpse of the camouflaged Predator, but dismisses it as a consequence of the extreme heat and his acrophobia.

At the station, Harrigan is reprimanded by his superiors for his disobedience and introduced to Special Agent Peter Keyes, leader of a task force investigating the cartels, and Detective Jerry Lambert, the newest member of Harrigan's team.

Later that evening, Jamaicans invade the Colombian drug lord's penthouse and murder him before they are killed in turn by the Predator. Upon their arrival, Harrigan's team notes the similarities between the crime scene and the earlier Colombian massacre, including the flayed corpses, until Keyes's team arrives and removes them.

Archuleta returns on his own, finding one of the Predator's spear tips before the creature kills him. As an enraged Harrigan vows to stop Archuleta's killer, forensic analysis reveals the spear tip is not composed of any known element on the periodic table. Seeking answers, Harrigan meets with Jamaican drug lord King Willie, a voodoo practitioner who believes the killer is supernatural and that he should prepare himself for battle against it. Harrigan leaves before the Predator kills King Willie, taking his head as a trophy. Tracing a lead indicating Archuleta's killer had recently been in a slaughterhouse, Harrigan arranges to meet his team at the warehouse district to investigate.

Cantrell and Lambert take the subway there, but are ambushed by the Predator, who kills Lambert and numerous armed passengers but spares Cantrell after its helmet's scanners indicate that she is pregnant. Arriving in time to see it claim Lambert's head, Harrigan chases the fleeing Predator, but is intercepted by Keyes's men. Keyes reveals that the monster is an extraterrestrial hunter with infrared vision and active camouflage that has been hunting humans for sport throughout several armed conflicts, most recently one decade prior in Central America.[a] Keyes and his team have set a trap in a nearby slaughterhouse, using thermally insulated suits with mounted ultraviolet lights and cryogenic weapons to capture it for study. However, the suspicious Predator uses its scanners to track, outmaneuver, and slaughter Keyes's men via their lights.

Harrigan attacks and wounds the Predator, but it destroys his weapon. It nearly kills him before Keyes tries to freeze the creature, only to be bisected by the Predator's Smart Disc. The Predator chases Harrigan to the roof, where they clash until they are left hanging from a ledge. The creature activates a self-destruct device on its forearm, which Harrigan severs with the disc, disarming it.

The Predator falls into an apartment, where it treats its wounds and flees. Harrigan pursues it to a spacecraft hidden underground and engages it in combat, eventually killing the Predator with its disc.

A group of Predators emerge to collect their dead comrade and give Harrigan an antique flintlock pistol as a trophy. As the ship takes off, Harrigan escapes to the surface and meets with the remainder of Keyes's team. Despite their lost opportunity to capture the creature, Harrigan privately muses that the Predators will return.


Further information: List of Predator (film series) characters

Elpidia Carrillo reprises her role as Anna Gonsalves from the first film in a cameo appearance. She aids government agents in a videotape, showing the devastating after-effects of the first Predator's self-destruct device to the U.S. Army. Carrillo filmed an additional scene in which she talks to the camera and describes the events of the first film, but this scene was cut.


Once 20th Century Fox approached Predator screenwriters Jim and John Thomas to write a sequel, they pitched six ideas, one of which was "putting the creature in an urban jungle", which the studio liked.[5] The eventual setting was Los Angeles, blighted by gang warfare during a severe heat wave, creating the ideal "hot spot" in which the Predator hunts targets. The script was then developed in just three weeks.[6] A goal of the sequel was to expand on the Predator's origins and motives, showing the creature has been visiting the planet for centuries, is not psychopathic, but just interested in hunting, and exploring its spacecraft's interior.[5]

Producer Joel Silver invited director Stephen Hopkins, who drew his interest while directing A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.[7] As Hopkins joined production before the screenplay was finished, he worked closely with the Thomases in the script revisions and storyboarding the sequences they had written. For the lead role of LAPD police officer Harrigan, Hopkins had originally envisioned Patrick Swayze playing the role, teaming up with a returning Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred as Dutch in the first film.[8] Hopkins also met with Steven Seagal for the role; although the actor was interested in starring in the film and had his own ideas about the character, wanting to portray him as a CIA psychiatrist and martial arts expert, Hopkins ultimately decided against it, as he wanted the character to be an average Joe type.[9] Due to a dispute over salary, Schwarzenegger declined to return to the sequel,[10] and Silver brought in three actors he had worked with in Lethal Weapon: Gary Busey, Steve Kahan, and Danny Glover in the role of Harrigan.[11] Production was split between location shooting, mostly at night, and soundstage filming.[7]

The main Predator was designed to look more urban and hip than its predecessor. Design changes included tribal ornamentation on the forehead, which is steeper and shallower, brighter skin coloration, and a greater number of fangs.[12] Describing the new Predator's design, Stan Winston said, "Broad concept's the same. The difference is, this is a different individual. A different individual of the same species. As in a snake is a snake, but different snakes are different. Their colorings are different, different parts of their characteristics, their facial structures, subtle differences."[11] Production designer Lawrence Paull said that with the Predator ship, he attempted "a space vehicle unlike anything that had ever been designed before", a snail-shaped vessel whose interior was "both technological and reptilian, where the creature and its ship blend and work together". Given the Alien franchise is also by Fox with effects work by Winston, the crew added an Alien head among the trophy skulls in the Predator ship.

Predator 2 is set ten years after the original, which was the then-future of 1997, leading to some developments like new video technology and a nonexistent subway in Los Angeles. (The Los Angeles Metro Rail started operating the same year as the film's release.) For the set design, Paul aimed for a "kind of retrograde future that's equal parts Brazil and Blade Runner mixed in with modern-day technology", with "big and outrageous" structures but simpler prop design, such as boxy and colorless cars.[7]

The MPAA initially gave Predator 2 an NC-17 rating, so several cuts were made to bring it down to an R rating.[13]

Toward the end of filming, a short unofficial music video was made, with Danny Glover dancing with the Predator and others.[14]


Main article: Predator 2 (soundtrack)

Alan Silvestri returned to score the sequel, conducting the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra. Whereas the first film did not have its music released until years later, a soundtrack album for the sequel was issued on December 13, 1990, from Varèse Sarabande. On December 1, 2014, the label issued Predator 2: The Deluxe Edition.[15]


Home media

Predator 2 was released on VHS and LaserDisc in 1991,[16] on DVD in 2003,[17] a two-disc special edition in January 2005,[18] on Blu-ray on June 9, 2009, in North America,[19] and 4K UHD Blu-Ray on August 7, 2018.[20]


Box office

Released on November 21, 1990, Predator 2 was #4 at the US box office in its opening weekend, with a gross of over $8 million behind the films Dances with Wolves, Three Men and a Little Lady, Rocky V, and Twentieth Century Fox's own film Home Alone. The film grossed a total of $57 million, $30 million of which was from the United States.[2] The worldwide box office revenue totaled $57,120,318 in ticket sales. The film became the lowest-grossing film in the Predator franchise.[21]

Critical response

Further information: List of accolades received by the Predator film series § Predator 2

In 1990, the film's reviews were generally negative, though reviewers were generally impressed by the casting of Danny Glover as an action hero.[22][23][24] On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 30% based on 37 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The site's consensus states: "The thrill of the hunt is gone in this hackneyed sequel."[25] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100 based on 18 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[27]

The reviewers for The Washington Post were split: Rita Kempley enjoyed the film, saying that it had "the dismal irony of RoboCop and the brooding fatalism of Blade Runner", and that Glover "brings an unusual depth to the action-adventure and proves fiercely effective as the Predator's new nemesis".[24] Desson Howe said the film was "blithely unoriginal" and numbingly violent, but also praised Glover's ability to bring warmth to the center of a cold film.[23]

In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin called the film "an unbeatable contender" for the "most mindless, mean-spirited action film of the holiday season".[28] Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert, in giving the film two out of four stars, suggested that it represents an "angry and ugly" dream. He said that the creatures' design had racist undertones where "subliminal clues [...] encourage us to subconsciously connect the menace with black males".[29]


Several retrospective reviews have considered the film underrated, and it has gained a cult following.[b]

Later, director Stephen Hopkins said: "It's so over the top. I just sort of went for it and made the biggest, boldest, loudest movie I could make. I was only 29 years old – I was like a rampant child, running around Los Angeles, blowing the shit out of everything and making things as bloody as possible." About the modest reception at the box office and the cult status since its release, he added "It had a big initial opening weekend if I remember correctly – but I think many people were disappointed that Arnold wasn’t in it. A lot of people like the film and some prefer it to the original – just because it’s in a city and more contemporary."[40]

Danny Glover was proud of his performance, saying:

I have two films I’ve done that I feel that I was bigger than life in, in which I felt that I could control the space. Silverado for me, and Predator 2. In Predator 2, it was like 'who's the baddest cat in your space, and the baddest cat says 'I'm gonna challenge you.' Mano y mano. I was the baddest guy in his space. What happens? I kill him, and then the others come around, and I’m like 'alright... who's next?' I was about 42, 43.. in the best shape in my life, best shape I’ve been in. I was running on the beach, had my training, I was lifting weights a lot more than I am now. I was really feeling it in that movie.[41][42]

Other media

A third main film titled Predators was released in 2010. A fourth, The Predator was released in 2018, which is set between the events of Predator 2 and Predators.[43] A prequel titled Prey was released in 2022, which takes place in 1719.

A novelization written by Simon Hawke was released on December 1, 1990, by the publishing company Jove. It briefly covers the fate of Dutch from the first film. Keyes recalls memories of speaking with the battered Major while infirmed in a hospital, suffering from radiation sickness. Dutch is said to have escaped from the hospital, never to be seen again. It tells a great deal of the story from the Predator's point of view, such as its humiliation of having its mask removed by Harrigan and its reasoning for not killing Cantrell due to its discovery of her pregnancy.

The film was adapted as two video games: the first for computer in 1990 and the second for Sega Genesis in 1992.


  1. ^ as depicted in Predator (film)
  2. ^ Multiple references ascribe a cult following:[30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39]


  1. ^ "Predator 2 (1990)". AFI.
  2. ^ a b "Predator 2 (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  3. ^ "Predator 2 (1990) - Stephen Hopkins | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related | AllMovie". Retrieved November 23, 2020 – via
  4. ^ "Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Didn't Return for Predator 2". ScreenRant. February 4, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Shapiro, Marc (December 1990). "Predator Season". Starlog. No. 161.
  6. ^ Jim & John Thomas (2005). 'Predator 2 (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  7. ^ a b c Shapiro, Marc (December 1990). "Predator 2 Stalks The Concrete Jungle". Fangoria (99).
  8. ^ Hamman, Cody (November 25, 2020). "Predator 2 Director Says Steven Seagal Was Desperate to Star in the Sequel". Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  9. ^ Miska, Brad (November 25, 2020). "Steven Seagal Nearly Starred in 'Predator 2'; Here's the Crazy Story!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
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  11. ^ a b The Making of Predator 2 (Documentary). Predator 2 special edition DVD: 20th Century Fox. 2005.((cite AV media)): CS1 maint: location (link)
  12. ^ Jody Duncan & James Cameron (2007). The Winston Effect: The Art and History of Stan Winston Studio. Titan Books (US, CA). p. 336. ISBN 978-1-84576-150-9.
  13. ^ Byrd, Matthew (August 14, 2017). "15 Movies That Were Originally NC-17". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on April 9, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  14. ^ "Danny Glover Throws a Predator Dance Party in Wild Predator 2 Outtake". July 9, 2020.
  15. ^ "Predator 2: The Deluxe Edition". Archived from the original on December 28, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
  16. ^ "New Video Releases". The New York Times. May 16, 1991. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  17. ^ Gross, G. Noel (February 9, 2003). "Predator 2". DVD Talk. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  18. ^ Gross, G. Noel (January 31, 2005). "Predator 2: SE". DVD Talk. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  19. ^ Zupan, Michael (June 20, 2009). "Predator 2 (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  20. ^ Hartman, Matthew (August 7, 2018). "Predator: 3-Movie Collection - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Ultra HD Review | High Def Digest". Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  21. ^ "Box Office History for Predator Movies". The Numbers. Retrieved November 6, 2023.
  22. ^ "23 Nov 1990, 226 The Miami Herald". The Miami Herald.
  23. ^ a b Desson Howe, 'Predator 2', Washington Post, November 23, 1990, Accessed October 24, 2020.
  24. ^ a b Rita Kempley, 'Predator 2', Washington Post, November 21, 1990, Accessed October 24, 2020.
  25. ^ "Predator 2 (1990)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  26. ^ "Predator 2 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  27. ^ "CinemaScore". Archived from the original on July 22, 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
  28. ^ Janet Maslin, Predator 2 (1990) Review/Film; The Quarry: Humans, The New York Times, November 21, 1990, Accessed January 6, 2011.
  29. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 21, 1990). "Roger Ebert, Film Review for Predator 2". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 9, 2007.
  30. ^ "Predator: 5 Ways Predator 2 Is The Definitive Sequel (& 5 Ways It's Predators)". ScreenRant. November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  31. ^ "'Predator 2' at 30: A misunderstood masterpiece?". November 23, 2020.
  32. ^ "Hear me out: Why Predator 2 isn't a bad movie". July 21, 2021.
  33. ^ "Cult Cinema: Predator 2 (1990) – Unsung Hero of a Franchise". June 13, 2017.
  34. ^ Kessler, Martin (September 15, 2017). "In Defence of... Predator 2 (1990)".
  35. ^ Barkan, Jonathan (November 21, 2015). ""You're One Ugly Mother F*cker...": 'Predator 2' Turns 25 Today!". Bloody Disgusting!. Film '89 Verdict – 8.5/10
  36. ^ "Why Predator 2 is the Most Underrated Movie in the Predator Franchise". August 4, 2022.
  37. ^ "'Predator 2' Sought out New Prey in an Underrated Sequel". Collider. August 2022.
  38. ^ "Every Predator Movie Ranked (Including Prey)".
  39. ^ "All 7 Predator movies, ranked from worst to best". August 6, 2022.
  40. ^ "Throwback: Predator 2". November 19, 2020.
  41. ^ "Douglass-Riverview News and Current Events: An Interview with Danny Glover". November 22, 2015.
  42. ^ "Role Recall: Danny Glover Remembers 'The Color Purple,' 'Saw,' and His Classic Line in 'Lethal Weapon'". November 10, 2016.
  43. ^ "How 'The Predator' Throws Out the Rules of the Franchise". The Hollywood Reporter. May 10, 2018. Archived from the original on November 10, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2021.