The culprit (Matthew Fox) goes by the name Picasso because he draws cubist portraits of his victims, who are first drugged, then dismembered, and finally killed. Picasso is a hired gun with a hit list of international industrialists. The moguls have gathered in the Motor City for a conference.

What ensues is a high-stakes game of cat and mouse that becomes personal for the detectives when tragedy strikes close to home. Seeking justice yet tempted by revenge, Alex uses his psychiatric skills to probe Picasso’s twisted mind for clues to his whereabouts.

Fortunately, the strong violence in “Alex Cross” is lightened by moments of humor, even camp. The picture also deserves credit for showing a tender side to its hero, with some poignant scenes of family interaction and others highlighting the role of faith in his life.

The film contains intense violence, including torture, drug use, a brief nonmarital bedroom scene with partial nudity and a few instances each of profane and rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.