None of the actors in the powerhouse film “Gong Shou Dao” starring Alibaba chairman Jack Ma received payment for his or her participation — and that’s okay.
According to executive producer Jet Li, everyone actually volunteered to be part of the short movie.
“Everyone volunteered to be part of this film without receiving any fees because we wanted to promote Chinese culture.”
“I told all the actors the reason we make this film is to dedicate it to all the Wushu, Taiji and Kung Fu masters,” he added.
The short film, at just a little over 22 minutes, features Ma as a Taiji Master who defeats famous action stars Donnie Yen, Wu Jing, Tony Jaa, Jacky Heung, Asashoryu Akinori, Zou Shiming, Natasha Liu and Jet Li himself.
The stunts were choreographed by Yuen Woo-Ping (“The Matrix” and “Kill Bill”), Sammo Hung (“Ip Man”) and Tony Ching (“Swordsman”).
Ma’s Alibaba produced the film, the inspiration of which dates back to 2009 when he met Li, according to China Daily. In addition, Ma has always been in love with tai chi, hiring five national champions to train his employees.
By 2011, the two co-founded a company to promote tai chi and planned to make a movie about it.
In the movie, Ma demonstrates his tai chi prowess — which he reportedly practiced for 30 years — after beating all his opponents.
International fighters Jason Statham, Manny Pacquiao and Gennady Gennádievich Golovkin also appeared at the end of the official trailer to the film, warning Ma to “watch out” in an apparent challenge.
“Gong Shou Dao”, which translates as “the art of attack and defense,” now airs in cinemas across major Chinese cities and streams on Youku, an Alibaba-affiliate video platform.
It is unclear how much Ma spent in producing the film. In a statement, he expressed his support in spreading Chinese Kung Fu:
“This culture doesn’t just belong to China, it belongs to the world.”
Meanwhile, Li hopes that “Gong Shou Dao” becomes part of the Olympics in the future:
“Perhaps in 2032 or 2036 we will make it to the Olympics. If one generation cannot achieve it, then the next generation continues to work hard on this.”
Watch the full movie below: