Time and time again I’ve chatted about the new era of action film we are currently in. The genre dominates the movie theaters, often time blending action with another intense category, but nothing will warm my heart more than an undiluted martial arts film. In honor of Chinese New Year, filmmaker and businessman Jack Ma re-released his 2017 short film Gong Shou Dao (On That Night…While We Dream), a film that showcases not only beautiful choreography but unexpected cameos.

The film can be viewed online, already racking up over 170 million views during its original release. The fact that it’s available for the masses only adds to it’s appeal. It’s a film that was made because Ma’s love of martial arts, yet highlights the importance of Tai Chi. With its new release, with English subtitles at the beginning of a new beginning (year), the impact of this art on our health is even more prevalent.

As producer and star, Ma was able to showcase not only an interesting story, but beautiful choreography. The film takes on a video game feel, with each new battle taking place in a different engaging environment. Not only are the battles interesting to watch, but they seem to represent the changing elements of the art, manipulating the movements to correspond with the situation at hand. 

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The choreography uses it’s surrounds, both in space and visuals, to create different atmospheres for what is at hand. Marital arts techniques are beautiful to witness, but when combined with outstanding visuals, it becomes an experience to watch. Each new level allows for the audience to continue to experience a different aspect of the art that may not be had elsewhere, that is the varied possibilities when the art is practiced by an individual.

It’s important to point out that the vagueness in the story is done on purpose. It’s a simple story, with impactful situations, but it’s one that needs to be experienced for oneself. The inclusion of martial arts film legends like Jet Li and Donnie Yen (and more) only add to the excitement of the film. It proves that we don’t need big budget studio films to enjoy the beauty of martial arts.

There’s also an element of fantasy, the inner desire we might have of being the fighter of our dreams. Who can tell what we can accomplish in this or other realms when our heart is place in its path. It’s a fun inspiring film that inspires one to reach beyond their limits. Granted we may not all be able to hold our own against Donnie Yen, but in our minds we can pretend for a moment.

Gong Shou Dao is currently available to be viewed on-line here.

Written by Lisa Mejia
Images provided by Social Strategy