The Siege: Archangel One is the continuing story of Mark G. Lakatos’ crime action series. Set ten years prior to the original film, the events follow a vigilante force inside the legal infrastructure of Hungarian law enforcement. The group is known as Archangel One, and as can be expected, the film submerges us in a murky morality that means tragic consequences are likely. At 105 minutes long, the unfocused action actually causes the message to meander, but the overall sentiment speaks loud and clear.

The film opens with the Guardsmen ready to storm an abandoned building, and the uncertain morality kicks right into gear. People felled and doubts are already present.

A medal ceremony comes next anyway, and then five months ahead, we learn something was not right with the operation. An investigation has been opened, and it’s imperative that no connection is made to the vigilantes.

On cue, the villain makes his entrance. As big as a mountain, he’s a pretty imposing figure, and the gas mask he wears has him sounding a bit like Darth Vader. In search of evidence that ties to the investigation, the immovable force definitively shows that getting in his way is a bad idea.

Next, we step back and get a serving of apple pie, which also gets bogged down with the inherent conflict of the whole affair. Off for the trenches, Mihály (Norbert Nyutali) readies for another night of ambiguous crime fighting, and his daughter actually lends a hand. Emily (Riana Emma Balla) applies the black glare underneath his eyes, but does so like he’s suiting up for a soccer match with the boys.

Sweet and innocent, Balla’s engagement and tender tone rounds the rough edges of her father’s chosen mission. Of course, Mihály is not immune to her charms, and Nyutali’s submissive response reveals a man who has no defense against his daughter’s loving influence. Adding in the score (Declan James McLeish and Bernadett Bettina Ács) and anyone with love in their hearts wishes we could be inserted into the celluloid.

Although, in sending him off, the look in the young actresses’ eyes tells us that she knows there’s more to the job description than danger. Emily also understands the conflicting layers in his endeavor and can only bite her tongue.

The cinematographic lighting of almost every scene reiterates the point. A shadowy framing by András Gerlai, the intruding light just begs the chance to escape, but it’s a losing battle.

Onto the fisticuffs, we then have to try to overlook the inconsistencies of the action part of the program. Since the film isn’t going for a comic book effect to justify the physical struggle, the delivery needs more logical choreography.

Of course, Jason Stratham, Liam Neeson and many others do plenty of martial arts. But they disarm or get the drop and the dance makes sense. A necessity because the hand to hand does serve a purpose. It’s there to remind us of the viciousness at the heart of the Guardsmen’s mission, and we are distracted by all the motion that doesn’t quite jibe.

Tussles aplenty, the Guardsman never come out of the battle scenes unscathed and their performances really make us feel it. The players burden us with the weight of all they face, and we are carried along with their conflicting conundrum.

For most is Nyutali. His stoic face attempts to hide all the inconsistency but leaves us all staring into the abyss.

Back at home, he doubles down with his daughter. No place to hide, Balla’s resolve acts as a mirror that forces him to look back. Nonetheless, they remain a refuge for each other, and there’s no surviving without the bond.

The bad guys aren’t the only obstacle, though. A vigilante force operating within the bounds of the law, there’s certainly a doubting populace. Their invasive glares and judgmental remarks voice an ire that can’t be escaped and piles on.

Not done, dad isn’t just in it for the betterment of society as he sees it. A simmering burn does reveal in his daily regimen, which goes to the next level when on the job. Seething with a personal revengeful anger, the street justice he employs makes the potential for catastrophe.

So all the elements in place, the unknowns become known and intentions of well meaning men and women fall prey to what we knew all along. When justice is delivered on the fly, the shifting bar will also consume the system itself and leave society worse off than what got it here in the first place.