HONG KONG — Jack Ma is a billionaire businessman, philanthropist, former English teacher, occasional moonwalker — and now movie star can be added to the list.
Alibaba Pictures, the entertainment arm of the tech giant he founded, announced the release of the martial arts flick “Gong Shou Dao” on Friday, the first day of the Lunar New Year.
Starring kung fu expert and “Lethal Weapon 4” star Jet Li, the film is a tribute to the Chinese art of tai chi. The storyline follows Ma, as he stumbles upon martial arts masters from around the world and tests through eight disciplines — tai chi, tae kwon do, wing chun, sumo, boxing, free combat, snap kick and muay thai. In the movie, Ma takes on some of kung fu’s most famous faces: Donnie Yen, Wu Jing, Tony Jaa, Sammo Hung and Natasha Liu Bordizzo from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
While the film was made available in China in November, it’s just now debuting online to international audiences for free on the web site gongshoudao.com.
Wei Zhang, president of Alibaba Pictures, said: “GSD is a celebration of Chinese culture, martial arts and all that they represent. We’re proud to be launching this film across the world, especially on the most important day in the Chinese calendar. Our main ambition for this film is to promote tai chi and other martial arts not only to celebrate their rich histories, but also to highlight tai chi emphasis on harmony and balance.”