Here is my review of the new sci-fi espionage action Netflix Series In From the Cold 2022. So is it going to be one that you add to your watch list? Let’s find out.
In From the Cold Series Review
A former Russian Super spy, the CIA, and some nefarious plan to control people all come to a head in the new Netflix action series In From the Cold.
During a European vacation with her daughter, an American single mom’s life is turned upside down when the CIA forces her to confront her long-buried past as a Russian spy who was also the product of a highly classified KGB experiment granting her special abilities.
After a mysterious string of manic and murderous incidents, she is forced out of hiding to stop this villain or risk losing the family and new life that she’s built.
So there might be some comparisons made between this show and Alias, but I’ve never watched that show, so I can’t even begin to compare them.
And regardless if there are similarities, In From the Cold has to stand on its own, and it kind of does to a degree.
So we follow Jenny, a newly single mom who goes to Spain with her teenage daughter as a chaperone for an ice skating competition.
She finds herself unwittingly partnered with a CIA agent and his It sidekick, and now she has to assist them in taking down a supposed global security threat.
All right, this show is a complete mixed bag for me. I mean, the action can be a lot of fun when it happens because there are some crazy hand to hand battles, and much of the time they’re also in close quarters.
Now, the show isn’t non-stop action, but there is enough to keep the series exciting and energetic. And while the action is fun, the editing can sometimes utilize too many quick cuts so that the angles change about every one and a half seconds.
There were one or two scenes where I actually started to count as the cuts happened because they were so rhythmic. And then when that happened, it became less engaging.
The excitement was still there, as was the energy, but I really wanted to watch the fights uninterrupted. I wanted the camera to sit on the subjects long enough to get a good amount of action that felt real versus having a bunch of cutaways that remove any illusion of an actual fight.
The story is somewhat intriguing because the premise is that Jenny is a former Russian Super spy, and they put a big focus at the very beginning of the show, hinting that she was so effective and deadly in her work, but she was never photographed.
Her existence was more of a rumor and supposition than fact because visible proof had just never been captured. This is a great concept, and it reminds me sort of like The Jackal with Bruce Willis.
And you have this assassin that no one has ever seen but has a close, if not perfect kill record, and that adds a bunch of mystery and intrigue to a character.
But in this series, that persona and the idea are abandoned fairly quickly and that doesn’t even really bother me that much because while it is cool to help establish the lore and the legend of a character, it’s not necessarily the focus moving forward.
And Jenny can be somewhat charismatic at times, or at least mildly relatable as a person who’s just trying to get a handle on their new life circumstances when they’re thrust into situations that are unforeseen and then undesirable.
One idea that the show introduces is a sort of Sci-Fi aspect that I think adds a cool feature to the storytelling and it’s something that they pulled off rather convincingly.
They introduced this fairly early into the series, so when we see it happen it’s not so surprising that it breaks you out of the mood of the show, but the thing that kills this show for me is the massive amount of exposition.
The characters just sit down with other characters and explain the crap out of a situation. Rather than showing us or performing some action, we have characters providing an exposition dump to give the context and the backstory.
So much time is spent in the show watching the characters sit and explain and it kills all the momentum just every single time and you think with that happening they wouldn’t use flashbacks, but half the story is flashbacks.
We get to see Jenny as a younger woman just beginning in her work in Russia, and it provides some good background and origins.
And I enjoyed the flashbacks because they provided a different perspective on Jenny and how she became who she is. I found that storyline to be engaging, even if it was drawn out a bit much.
Another facet of this story that is a bit wonky is the dynamic between Jenny and her daughter Becca, who is taking part in an ice skating Championship.
Now, Jenny’s involvement as a chaperone is a bigger focus at the beginning of the show, but then it’s basically abandoned as the narrative progresses.
The family relationship is pretty dysfunctional and it’s meant to amp up the drama, but both Jenny and Becca come across as being abrasive and hard to sympathize with or relate to when they’re together.
The show also spends a decent amount of time following Becca, and some of this is necessary because she can’t just be a stranger in the story in order for the events to have an impact later on in the show.
One of the problems though that I encountered with her is that she is just so unlikeable as a character, it makes it wildly difficult to connect at all with her.
Now there is an element that is very briefly mentioned that could work to make her more sympathetic, but the show chooses not to focus there, keeping Becca at an arm’s length and then still abrasive.
There are a bunch of different angles of mystery that are introduced as the show goes along, but most don’t actually make or break the outcome.
There’s drama in the CIA agents’ past which can speak to certain motivations, but if completely negated. I mean, it just doesn’t harm the story and it saves us from more exposition.
I did really enjoy the character of Chris, who is the It guy for the CIA agent. And no, the reason I liked him wasn’t because of his name. I mean, that’s cool, but it was because he was witty and he said a lot of things that echoed common sense in situations where all logic was being just thrown out the window.
The show is eight episodes, along with each of them sitting between 40 and 50 minutes. And some portions of the story help to progress these efficiently, while others then drag the pace way down, making portions of the narrative feel repetitive or static.
There are also some sequences in this that are wildly melodramatic. In one scene towards the end of the show, we have a couple of characters that are on an ice rink, and after this threatening exchange one pushes off on ice skates had been previously been unseen.
I laughed out loud because it was just a ridiculous interaction. And there are many more of these types of scenes too, where we have a character in a dramatic situation or a conversation and then it becomes laughable because of an action or a line of dialogue.
Now the end of the show resolves a lot of the story, but because of some reveals, it provides an opening for another season. But even as the show closes out, there’s a sequence that introduces something completely unbelievable, even within a series that embraces a Sci-Fi story device.
And this little thing normally wouldn’t bother me, but it was just one more nail in the coffin of the show that progressively got worse in quality.
Overall, In From the Cold has some good mysterious espionage potential, but it continually works against itself to make the show more ridiculous as it progresses.
The story premise is intriguing, especially with the introduction of a Sci-Fi aspect, but the excessive exposition dumps by characters reduce the momentum and the tension within the narrative.
The action sequence we get are exciting, but are unfortunately hampered by the overuse of quick cutaways, making the action choppy and less convincing.
I appreciate the use of flashbacks to give more character development and support motivations, but the information that does come from them is parceled out at a much slower rate than I think is necessary, and then when it’s combined with the main storyline pacing issues, the show becomes longer than it really requires.
I wanted to like this a lot more, especially because some of the premises were fun, but at the end of this, it was more of a chore to get through than a fun binging experience.
There’s sex, no nudity, a lot of profanity, and a ton of brutal violence.
I am going to give In From the Cold 2/5.
Are there any good spy movies, movies, or shows that you can recommend? Let me know in the comments below.
In From the Cold Series Trailer
Check out the trailer of the new sci-fi espionage action Netflix Series In From the Cold 2022.