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.Richard Grieco as Michael Corben
Linda Hunt as Ilsa Grunt
Roger Rees as Augustus Steranko, a leader of European Economic Community.
Robin Bartlett as Patricia Grober
Gabrielle Anwar as Mariska Blade
Geraldine James as Vendetta Galante
Michael Siberry as Derek Richardson
Tom Rack as Zigesfeld
Carole Davis as Areola Canasta
Frederick Coffin as Lieutenant Colonel Larabee
Roger Daltrey as Blade
Oliver Dear as Kent
Cynthia Preston as Melissa Tyler
Michael Sinelnikoff as Haywood
Travis Swords as Kelly
Gerry Mendicino as Herb Corben
Fiona Reid as Marge Corben
Michael Vinokur as Brad Corben
David McIlwraith as Agent Michael Corben
Gene Mack as Agent Kramer
Jacques Tourangeau as Jacques Lefevre
- "If Looks Could Kill (No Turning Back)" - Glenn Medeiros
- "One Hot Country" - The Outfield
- "Loud Guitars, Fast Cars and Wild, Wild Livin'" - Contraband
- "One Mo' Time" - Trixter
- "Better the Devil You Know" - Kylie Minogue
- "Teach Me How to Dream" - Robin McAuley
- "All Is Fair" - The Fixx
- "Maybe This Time" - The Stabilizers
- "My Saltine" - Bang Tango
- "Michael Corben's Adventure" - David Foster and Bill Ross
If Looks Could Kill was a worldwide box office disappointment, having earned only $7,788,597.
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. The film had scored a 33% on rotten tomatoes.