O'Toole hugs Railsback in "The Stunt Man": What you see isn't always what you get Surprise! It's malice in this Wonderland By Wayne Harada Advertiser F.nlrrt ainmrnt Editor H ollywood long has been termed a r antasyianci. where what you see isn t always what you get. And there's a lot of deception and surprises in "The Stunt Man," at the Waikiki' 2, a caper that's as much fun and fright as being caught in a hall of mirrors. It's everything and anything you want it to be a black comedy, with sinister overtones; a drama, with quirks and turns that amaze and amuse; a romance, with elegant settings; an adventure, with death-defying death-defying death-defying spills; a slice of Hollywood film-making, film-making, film-making, with plot developments that often require a scorecard to keep straight. Cameron (Steve Railsback, in a winning portrayal) is a Vietnam renegade who literally stumbles into the making of a World War I film. He is not unlike the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland," running across a bridge, eluding the police, when a luxurious old black-and-yellow black-and-yellow black-and-yellow black-and-yellow black-and-yellow Duesenberg hurtles right at him. In self-defense, self-defense, self-defense, he tosses a bolt through the windshield of the car, and ducks. When he opens his eyes, the vehicle is gone. Over the side of the bridge and, kerplunk, into the water. He then sees a helicopter, hovering and shooting. The director, Eli Cross (Peter O'Toole, in a foppish, eccentric, flamboyant performance), peers at him with malice in his eyes. Indeed, there is malice in this wonderland. Cameron is in the middle of a reel situation, Hollywood style. And "The Stunt Man" is seen through his viewpoint. An unsuspecting bystander who gets swept into the mainstream of moviemaking, where it is awfully difficult to figure out what's real, what's not. Consequently, the viewer shares in the confusions of Cameron who is hired by Eli to be the new stunt man. The one in the car that took a dive into the river has died. And Cameron still on the lam figures it's a way to hide from the police. As he makes certain discoveries about his new sanctuary and his new savior, he also falls for Nina Franklin (Barbara Hershey, in a role that suits her cloying film presence), the leading lady. "The Stunt Man" at first seems Mm i wt )'), M ; it lit If-,,, If-,,, If-,,, ilv SAt - - to be a tribute to that unsung breed of film tricksters who fall from copters and elude bullets and bombs. It is, to a certain degree. It is more of a visual game of Alice in Wonderland. Did Cameron take a bite off the mushroom , causing him to think and feel thoughts that may or may not be happening? "That door is the looking glass," Eli tells Cameron early on. "Come in,. Alice." In a recurring series of illusion vs. reality, Cameron learns that there's more to life and strife than meets the eye. In a seemingly simple stunt, where he is to fall off a rooftop and onto an awning, he tumbles, but the awning gives; he falls through a skylight, and onto a bed of nudes (one male, one seemingly female). There's an orgy going on, and an audience, and yegads, a circus of curious spectators. Cameron finds out that the bare-breasted bare-breasted bare-breasted woman actually is a man, with fake boobs. Ah, Hollywood. Cameron's paranoia is the underlying theme of the movie, and he begins to suspect that Eli will plan to film an ending, wherein the stunt man's death will be The Ultimate Finish. Inasmuch as Eli can accurately and , precisely pick up on the inner workings of Cameron's mind Eli does show up, at the most inopportune time, mostly from his director's seat, perched from a hanging crane so the preoccupation with a cinematic death is not so unbelievable. Or is it? As Eli, O'Toole brings a marvelous streak of a Advertiser review "THE STt'.VT M4V" At the Waikiki 02 Produced tnd directed by: Richard Rush. Screenplay by: Lawrence B Marcus. adapted by Richard Rush, based on the Pasul Brodeur book Released by: 20th Century-Fox Century-Fox Century-Fox la Mel Simon Production!. Rating: R (restricted, contains nurfi I.v, violence, frank ianguauel madman, trying to be a queen. Of Hollywood, if not of England. There is an obvious flurry of effeminacy in the portrayal, but it suits the character an exaggerated caricature of a dotty artist at work. As Cameron, Railsback is a wise choice. He reflects the bewilderment of his role with wide-eyed wide-eyed wide-eyed enthusiasm, and his certainly is an illuminating portrayal, down to the beard-off. beard-off. beard-off. blond transformation part of the Looking Glass illusionary antics. Hershey is finally playing older roles that become her. The supporting cast includes Chuck Bail as a suspicious stunt director. Adam Rourke as a leading man, Allen Goorwitz as the accommodating screenwriter, and Sharon Farrel as the movie set hairdresser.