Monday, September 15, 2008

Michael Hui

Michael Hui Koon-Man is a Hong Kong film comedian, and .

He studied in La Salle College, and then earned a sociology from the United College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

After a spell hosting quiz shows in TVB, Hui gained popularity in the Hong Kong entertainment industry with his variety show stints in the ''Hui Brothers Show''. He then moved from television to film. Hui's first work was in a film by Taiwanese director Li Han-Hsiang called '''' , where he played a farcical warlord in post-revolutionary China.

In 1974 the Hui Brothers Company, with Golden Harvest. Between 1974 and 2000 he was involved in over 20 films, mostly actor and scriptwriter.

The earliest Hui comedies combined episodic gags with the comedic appeal of Michael and his brothers. This usually involved the trio of actors -- Michael, Sam and Ricky -- pitting their wits against the odds to earn quick bucks and their livelihood. Set in modern-day Hong Kong, with upbeat soundtracks performed by Sam himself, these works became wildly popular amongst the working classes in the 1970s and early 1980s. ''Games Gamblers Play'' , '''' , '''' and ''Security Unlimited'' - the last of which won him the first Hong Kong Academy Best Actor award - are often seen as the quintessential comedies made by the company. ''Games Gamblers Play'' was a huge success when first released and paved the way for movies to hold their own against the colonial trend of production.

After a breakup with his brothers in the early 1980s, Hui developed a new brand of satirical comedy, one which capitalized on his deadpan comic timing and a character-driven storyline. Some of his more renowned works came during this period in the 1980s, where he frequently acted out the archetypal "ne'er-do-well" driven on by a cash-mad Hong Kong society. Equally caustic and funny, they focused more fully on himself and the plot, against the backdrop of present-day Hong Kong consumerism. He would make a rare North American film appearance as the Subaru mechanic/engineer with Jackie Chan in the Burt Reynolds comedy ''The Cannonball Run''. In ''Inspector Chocolate'' , he plays a chocolate-eating inspector who must solve a kidnap case while his subordinate is involved in a Miss Hong-Kong pageant. In ''Chicken and Duck Talk'' , opposing restaurateurs come to blows to secure profits. '''' , which reunited the three brothers, lampoons the Hong Kong press, while ''The Magic Touch'' builds on the Chinese knack for fortune-telling and satirizes the their obsession with wealth. '''' continues in this vein of self-deprecating humour, where Hui plays the head of a family who stops at nothing to grab money.

Hui has continued acting and producing his own comedies, albeit at a less prolific rate, in the 1990s and 2000s. ''Chinese Box'' , directed by Wayne Wong, remains Hui's only starring film in the West. One of his most recent movies is the action-comedy ''Rob-B-Hood'', starring alongside Jackie Chan and Louis Koo. He plays a talented safe-cracker who kidnaps a baby for money from Triads, but is kind-hearted and dignified. In 2006, he became the host of the quiz show ''''.

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