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File:If Looks Could Kill movie poster 6815.jpg

Mostly forgotten 1991 film in which (barely) high school graduate Michael Corben of Detroit goes on a class trip to France and winds up being mistaken for an American CIA agent of the same name who is killed at the airport. Upon arrival he is immediately shanghaied into service by British Intelligence and tasked with stopping a madman from conquering all of Europe.

Has nothing to do with the song by band Heart.


Tropes used in this film:

  • Air Vent Passageway
  • Artificial Limbs: Zigesfeld's golden robotic hand.
  • Axe Crazy: The word "subtle" isn't in Zigesfeld's vocabulary - in fact, very little is in his vocabulary. For example, sent to kill Michael (and Areola) at his hotel, he just walks in and blows the place up with a rocket launcher.
  • Big Bad: Augustus Steranko.
  • Board to Death
  • Bottomless Magazines - Averted. Michael reloads his machine gun multiple times.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Michael is consistently shown to be a bright and clever young man, however never lives up to his full potential due to his desire to slack off.
  • Broken Aesop: Michael gets the credit for his French class because he rescued his teacher, not because of any actual schoolwork. He never learns a single word of French despite spending almost the entire movie in France.
  • Death by Cameo: Singer Roger Daltrey appears as superspy Blade long enough to get his butt handed to him by Linda Hunt as Ilsa, who kills him using a necklace that unfurls into a whip.
  • Chase Scene
  • Chekhov's Gun: Hot Scientist Vendetta Galante presents Michael with a tuxedo fitted with "standard hands-up protection." Later, upon being cornered by two of Steranko's goons while in the tux, Michael is told, "Put up your hands." He complies. Hilarity Ensues as knockout gas sprays from the armpits of the tux.
  • Cool Car: The red Lotus Esprit.
  • Creator Cameo: Director William Dear as a scientist.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Areola Canasta's pet scorpion is portrayed by an emperor scorpion, which are harmless enough to be sold in pet stores throughout the world. The movie asks us to believe it is in fact a deadly poisonous one.
    • YMMV and Fridge Logic: Who in their right mind would pay the money for and use a poisonous scorpion for only one scene in a movie when the scene is "someone gets stung"?
  • The Dragon: Ilsa.
  • Eighties Hair: Proof that the 80's briefly bled over into the 90's.
  • Faux Action Girl: Blade's daughter Mariska. She displays some skill and intelligence early only, only to revert to helpless damsel mode the minute she and Michael are nabbed, including allowing a perverted goon to feel her up. She does later grab a machine gun to shoot at Steranko's helicopter but by then the damage has been done.
  • Femme Fatale: Steranko's arm candy, Areola Canasta.
  • French Jerk: The doorman at the casino.
    • Averted with most of the other French characters however. Generally except for the casino doorman most of the French people encountered in the film are quite nice.
  • He Knows Too Much
  • Hellish Copter: Steranko's getaway helicopter randomly crashes, and then the entire rotor section comes off and, still spinning, chases after the heroes.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
  • Stung By Her Own Scorpion: Areola
    • Also Steranko, who ends up dying by being buried alive by the tons of gold coins he just had to overload his helicopter with.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Steranko's goons.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Michael fires around a corner without looking and hits a goon dead center in the chest. Somehow.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Although the immediate problem of the villain is handled by the film's climax, there's the somewhat major issue of all the gold he stole from France, Germany and other European countries and melted down. Namely, that it was in his mansion when it exploded. There's a strong possibility that Europe could suffer economic crises as a result.
    • There is also the matter of the "other" Michael Corben and what will happen to our young hero when his true identity is found out. The movie ends with him basically implying he isn't the Corben they thought all along. When (and if) it is eventually discovered that the real Agent Corben was killed in Detroit, Michael could potentially face serious consequences for willfully duping the intelligence agencies of no less than three different countries.
  • Ironic Echo: Both Michael's father and Steranko scold Michael for having "No follow-through."
  • Load-Bearing Boss
  • Mistaken for Badass
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: What Ilsa has Zigesfeld do to Areola for her.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine
  • Not Afraid to Die: Michael tells himself this. Or at least he tries.

 Michael:I'm not afraid to die. I'm not afraid to die. Who am I kidding?

 Lafevre: France's gold must remain in France.

Steranko: Well, I'm very sorry you feel that way.

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