In This Review

The Fate of the Furious
The Fate of the Furious
By Directed by F. Gary Gray
Universal Pictures, 2017, pp

The 15-minute opening sequence of The Fate of the Furious, the eighth installment of the blockbuster Fast and Furious film franchise, paints an alluring portrait of Havana: the city’s bright sunlight, color-drenched architecture, exuberant youth, and ethos of innovation and openhearted generosity. The hero of the series, Dom (played by Vin Diesel), best sums up the defining premise of the Havana segment when he explains what led him to choose to honeymoon in Cuba: “The same things that bring everyone to Cuba: culture, people, beauty.” In the sequence’s dramatic climax, Dom wins a hard-fought drag race against a tough local competitor, by a nose. The loser is gracious: “You won my car, and you earned my respect.” Dom’s response is equally magnanimous: “Keep your car: your respect is good enough for me.” In that instant, the film astutely captures the essence of relations between the United States and Cuba: a striving for mutual respect. After enjoying the biggest worldwide opening-weekend box-office revenues of all time, the film—the first major Hollywood production to be shot in Cuba since the revolution in 1959—grossed over $1 billion globally in the two months following its release. Cuba’s tourism bureau could never dream of affording such powerful advertising. Despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s harsh anticommunist rhetoric, the new administration’s Cuba policies appear unlikely to stem travelers’ interest in visiting the irresistible island.