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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stephen Hopkins|
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$57.1 million|
Predator 2 is a 1990 American science fiction action film written by brothers Jim and John Thomas, directed by Stephen Hopkins, and starring Danny Glover, Ruben Blades, Gary Busey, María Conchita Alonso, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Peter Hall. The film, second installment of the Predator franchise, is a sequel to Predator (1987), with Kevin Peter Hall reprising the title role of the Predator.
The film received negative reviews, despite earning a moderate return at the box office grossing $57 million worldwide, and was considered a disappointment compared to the previous film's $98 million gross on a smaller production budget. It has, however, become a cult film among fans. A sequel followed 20 years later in 2010.
In 1997, Los Angeles is enduring a heat wave and a turf war between heavily armed Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels. A Predator watches a shootout between the police and Colombians, led by El Scorpio, observing as Lieutenant Michael R. Harrigan charges in to rescue two wounded officers and drive the Colombians back into their hideout.
The Predator attacks the Colombians, causing a disturbance that prompts Harrigan and his police detectives, Leona Cantrell and Danny Archuleta, to defy orders and enter the hideout. They find the Colombians have been massacred. Harrigan pursues the frightened El Scorpio onto the roof and shoots him in self-defense, believing El Scorpio is shooting at him when he opens fire at the cloaked Predator behind Harrigan. Harrigan catches a glimpse of the cloaked Predator, but dismisses it as a hallucination due to the extreme heat and his acrophobia. At the station, Harrigan is reprimanded by his superiors for his defiance. He is introduced to Special Agent Peter Keyes, leader of the task force investigating the cartels, and Detective Jerry Lambert, the newest member of Harrigan's team.
Later that evening, several Jamaican cartel members storm the Colombian drug lord's penthouse in downtown Los Angeles. After they ritualistically murder him, they are attacked and slaughtered by the Predator. Harrigan's team enter the penthouse where they find the Jamaicans' skinned corpses suspended from the rafters, noting the similarities to the earlier Colombian massacre. Keyes arrives and kicks Harrigan's team out. Archuleta later returns to continue investigating and notices one of the Predator's speartip weapons in an air conditioning vent. When he climbs up to retrieve it, the lurking Predator kills him. Harrigan vows to find and bring down Danny’s killer, believing they are dealing with an assassin. Forensic analysis reveals that the speartip Archuleta recovered is not composed of any known element on the periodic table. Seeking answers, Harrigan meets with Jamaican drug lord King Willie, a voodoo practitioner, to discuss the recent killings in the city. King Willie tells Harrigan that the killer is supernatural, and that he should prepare himself for battle. Harrigan, even more puzzled, leaves before the Predator drops from the rooftops and kills King Willie after he draws his rapier sword, taking his skull as a trophy. For Harrigan's persistence, the Predator views him as his ultimate hunting challenge and decides to first hunt those closest to him to enrage him even more.
Tracing a lead indicating Danny's killer had recently been in a slaughterhouse, Harrigan arranges to meet his team at a warehouse district to investigate. Cantrell and Lambert take the subway to the rendezvous when the Predator, hunting Harrigan's subordinates, suddenly attacks during a standoff between a gang and a group of vigilantes. The Predator kills the gang and multiple armed vigilantes. Lambert faces off against the Predator and is also killed. Cantrell is spared after the Predator's scan of her body reveals that she is pregnant. Arriving on the scene to find numerous armed civilians dead and Lambert missing, Harrigan continues down the subway tunnel and witnesses the Predator rip Lambert’s spine and skull from his lifeless body, taking it as a trophy. Harrigan gives chase to the fleeing Predator, but is intercepted by Keyes' men. Keyes reveals that the killer is an extraterrestrial hunter that sees in infrared, uses active camouflage, and has been hunting humans for sport throughout armed conflicts, most recently in Central America. Keyes and his team have set a trap in a nearby slaughterhouse where the Predator has been visiting to feed, using thermally insulated suits and cryogenic weapons to capture it for study.
When the Predator arrives, the trap is sprung. However, the Predator uses its bio-mask to scan through various electromagnetic wavelengths to identify the light from the team's flashlights. It easily outmaneuvers and slaughters the entire team before heavily wounding Keyes. Harrigan attacks the Predator with a shotgun, badly wounding it before it rallies, destroys his weapon and closes in. Harrigan is saved by the sudden reappearance of Keyes, who tries to incapacitate the alien, but is killed by its throwing disc. Harrigan follows the Predator to a roof and the two clash, leaving them hanging from a ledge. The Predator activates a self-destruct device on its forearm, which Harrigan severs using the throwing disc. The Predator falls through an apartment window, treats its wounds and flees through the building.
Harrigan follows it down an elevator shaft and finds a spacecraft in an underground tunnel. Inside the ship, after Harrigan briefly glimpses a trophy room with various skulls (including a Xenomorph), he and the Predator face off in a final duel, ending when Harrigan impales it using the throwing disc, killing it. Several other Predators appear and collect their dead comrade. Knowing he had won in a fair fight, the leader of the clan presents Harrigan with an antique flintlock pistol as a trophy. Harrigan escapes from the ship before it takes off. He reaches the surface just as the remainder of Keyes' team arrives. As Keyes' subordinate Garber curses their lost opportunity to capture the alien, Harrigan privately muses that the creatures will return.
Once 20th Century Fox approached Predator screenwriters Jim and John Thomas to write a sequel, they pitched six ideas, one of whom was "putting the creature in an urban jungle", which the studio liked. The eventual setting was Los Angeles facing both gang wars and a heat wave, considering that the ultimate "hot spot" in which the Predator would search for hunting targets. The script was then developed in just three weeks. A goal of the sequel would be to expand on the Predator's origins and motives, showing the creature has been visiting the planet for centuries, is not psychopatic but just interested in hunting, and depicting its spacecraft on screen.
Producer Joel Silver invited director Stephen Hopkins, who drew his interest while directing A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. 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. Silver brought in two actors he had worked with in Lethal Weapon, Danny Glover and Gary Busey. Due to a dispute over salary, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who starred as Dutch in the first film, declined to return to the sequel. Production was split between location shoot, mostly at night, and soundstage filming.
The main Predator was designed to look more urban and hip than its predecessor. Design changes included tribal ornamentation on the forehead, which was made steeper and shallower, brighter skin coloration and a greater number of fangs. 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." 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 was also by Fox and featured effects work by Winston, the crew decided to add an Alien head among the trophy skulls in the Predator ship.
The writers decided to set Predator 2 ten years after the original, which was the then-future of 1997, leading to some developments like new video technology and a then-inexistent subway in Los Angeles (the Los Angeles Metro Rail started operating the same year the film hit theaters). 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.
The MPAA initially gave Predator 2 an NC-17 rating, so several cuts were made to bring it down to an R rating.
The film received mostly negative reviews, though reviewers were generally impressed by the casting of Danny Glover as an action hero. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of 28% based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 46 out of 100 based on 18 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The reviewers for The Washington Post were split: Rita Kempley enjoyed the film, saying she felt that it had "the dismal irony of RoboCop and the brooding fatalism of Blade Runner", and felt Glover "brings an unusual depth to the action adventure and proves fiercely effective as the Predator's new nemesis." Desson Howe felt the film was "blithely unoriginal" and numbingly violent, but also praised Glover's ability to bring warmth to the center of a cold film.
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". 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 also felt that the creatures' design had racist undertones where "subliminal clues [...] encourage us to subconsciously connect the menace with black males."
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, and Home Alone. The film grossed a total of $57 million, $30 million of which was from the USA. The worldwide box office revenue totaled $57,120,318 in ticket sales.
A novelization of the film written by Simon Hawke was released on December 1, 1990 by the publishing company Jove. The novelization provided a small amount of information regarding 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. Furthermore, the novel 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.
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 11, 1990 from Varèse Sarabande. On December 1, 2014, the label issued Predator 2: The Deluxe Edition.
Predator 2 was released on VHS in 1991, on DVD in 2003, a two-disc special edition in January 2005, and on Blu-ray on June 9, 2009, in North America. The film was released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray on August 7, 2018.
A sequel Predators, was released in 2010.
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