If Looks Could Kill (film)

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If Looks Could Kill
If Looks Could Kill movie poster.jpg
Directed by William Dear
Produced by Neil Meron
Craig Zadan
Screenplay by Darren Star
Story by Fred Dekker
Music by David Foster
Cinematography Douglas Milsome
Edited by John F. Link
Distributed by Warner Bros.
(Time Warner)
Release date
  • March 15, 1991 (1991-03-15)
Running time
88 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million
Box office $7,788,597

If Looks Could Kill (released in the UK as Teen Agent) is a 1991 American action comedy spy film directed by William Dear and starring Richard Grieco.


Eighteen-year-old Michael Corben (Richard Grieco) of Detroit, Michigan, is a slacker. Rather than attending his high school French class, he spends all of his time drinking and partying, until come graduation when all of his debauchery catches up to him and he learns that he cannot graduate without a French credit. He has only one more chance to obtain the credit: the French teacher, Mrs. Grober (Robin Bartlett), and the French Club are headed to France for summer school, and Michael must accompany them and participate if he wants to graduate next summer.

However, at the airport, a CIA agent also named Michael Corben (David McIlwraith) who is on his way to France as well, is killed by the assassin Ilsa Grunt (Linda Hunt), henchwoman and surrogate mother of the villainous Augustus Steranko (Roger Rees) who seeks to steal all of the gold in Europe and use it to mint his own coins under the guise of a common currency. Because important details about the agent's identity (including his actual age) have been kept meticulously secret, Michael is mistaken for the CIA agent. He is inexplicably boarded first class on his flight to Paris, and upon arrival is whisked away by British Intelligence.

The late Agent Corben's mission had been to protect Augustus Steranko, who (being not suspected to be evil) has been murdering European finance ministers as part of his plan. After some efforts to explain that he isn't the Corben they think he is, Michael agrees to play along once it becomes apparent that he will be allowed to utilize high-tech gadgets, including X-ray glasses, exploding chewing gum and L.A. Gear sneakers with suction cups, as well as a Lotus Esprit. At first, he enjoys the thrilling adventures the life of a spy provides, but begins to rethink his decision once his life begins being endangered by Steranko's deadly assassins, including Zigesfeld (Tom Rack), a henchman with a prosthetic gold hand, and Areola Canasta (Carole Davis), who kills her victims using her poisonous pet scorpion.

Steranko however captures Michael's teacher and classmates and holds them all hostage at his remote castle stronghold, and now Michael teams up with a girl his own age named Mariska (Gabrielle Anwar), the daughter of Agent Blade (Roger Daltrey) whom Steranko and his gang murdered, to bring the villains down and save his friends as well as all of Europe's gold. Despite being briefly captured and imprisoned by Steranko's men, Michael escapes, rescues Mrs. Grober and his friends, and battles and defeats Zigesfeld in the film's climax.

Steranko, his duplicitous nature exposed by Michael, kidnaps Mariska and attempts to escape with his gold in his Eurocopter Ecureuil helicopter. Michael manages to rescue Mariska, and Steranko is subsequently killed when he falls out of the helicopter, and it and the onboard gold supply both drop on him. Afterwards, Mrs. Grober agrees to give Michael the French credit.



If Looks Could Kill
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released March 15, 1991
Recorded 1990
  1. "If Looks Could Kill (No Turning Back)" - Glenn Medeiros
  2. "One Hot Country" - The Outfield
  3. "Loud Guitars, Fast Cars and Wild, Wild Livin'" - Contraband
  4. "One Mo' Time" - Trixter
  5. "Better the Devil You Know" - Kylie Minogue
  6. "Teach Me How to Dream" - Robin McAuley
  7. "All Is Fair" - The Fixx
  8. "Maybe This Time" - The Stabilizers
  9. "My Saltine" - Bang Tango
  10. "Michael Corben's Adventure" - David Foster and Bill Ross

Box office and reception[edit]

If Looks Could Kill was a worldwide box office disappointment, having earned only $7,788,597.[1]

The film received disappointing to negative reviews from movie critics, although some praised it, notably Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film 3 out of 4 stars.[2][3][4] The film had scored a 33% on rotten tomatoes.


  1. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1991-03-19). "THREE-DAY WEEKEND BOX OFFICE : 'Lambs' Is Still Roaring". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03. 
  2. ^ "If Looks Could Kill". Variety. 1990-12-31. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (1991-03-15). "If Looks Could Kill". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  4. ^ Kensley, Rita (1991-03-15). "'If Looks Could Kill'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 

External links[edit]