In Taken 2 when Bryan Mills/Liam Neeson, was kidnapped, and calling Kim/Maggie Grace from his locked cell.

He asked her to draw 2 circles, according to the map chart:

One of 3 km from the hotel, and the other of 3 km from the (harbor I think), he then asked her to draw a new one of 4.5 km.

He pointed that his whereabouts are on the eastern point of where the two circles connect.

  1. How did he get to that (while he was blindfolded - and counting seconds and scenery marks - stupid idea IMO)
  2. Why did he decide it was the eastern one?

Some more details: If anyone can identify the hotel they Mills stayed in, and the market they were kidnapped - that can assist in identifying Bryan's thoughts.

The whole idea looks weird, as when he was kidnapped, they go over the ferry, but than, when Kim rushes to his aide, he just runs over the rooftops (unless - he was kidnapped, and driven over the river back to the hotel side).

  • He knew he went over the ferry maybe he knew that the river was to the east of the hotel?
    – jampez77
    Oct 9, 2012 at 10:01
  • 3
    there's a bug, the second circle radius based on grenade should be 1.5km, not 4.5km.
    – user2166
    Oct 9, 2012 at 15:28
  • TotW Winner
    – Tablemaker
    Oct 12, 2012 at 15:51
  • 1
    I believe the second 3km circle had the "market" (where he and his wife were attacked) in the center.
    – Oliver_C
    Oct 21, 2012 at 16:14
  • The first 3km circle, with the hotel in the center, doesn't seem to make sense. (1) They were abducted in the market, so if he paid good attention he could have estimated the distance they traveled from the market and maybe even the direction (east). (2) The sound of the grenate (~ 4 sec.) would mean he is no more than 1.5km away from the hotel. So, where (1) and (2) intersect would be his position.
    – Oliver_C
    Oct 21, 2012 at 16:36

3 Answers 3


After they were kidnapped Bryan did three things:

  1. he counted how long it took them to get to where they were using his watch. given an average moving speed of the vehicle you can draw a rough radius from the hotel using this information alone.
  2. he listened for specific sounds during the trip. this wasn't used for the girl to find him, but instead is later used to find the bad guy's place (where they stopped temporarily).
  3. he noted the turns they took.

Using 1 and 3, he could get a very good radius on how far from the hotel he was. He somehow messed up though and didn't give a large enough radius from the hotel. I don't remember what the second radius was centered on, I think it was the boats but I'm not 100% sure.

He used the sound of the grenade his daughter set off to refine the radius. He did this by couting from when the grenade went off (which was at the center of the first radius) to went the sound wave got to him. The speed of sound is 340.29 m/s at sea level. It took roughly 4 1/2 seconds to get to him, so he has a roughly known radius of 4.5*340 m from the hotel.

When the two radius intersected, he somehow used the wind to determine he was at the eastern location. This part I am unsure of how he determined which spot he was at.

  • Although I'm not completely sure, he could have chosen the eastern point based on the volume of the blast. If the wind is blowing in the right direction, the blast will be louder then when it is blowing in the other direction. Seeing as he knows the noise the grenades normally make , he can estimate how loud the blast would be for him (in a basement). Because it was loud enough, he knows the wind was blowing in the right direction.
    – Origin
    Oct 10, 2012 at 13:48
  • @Origin - That wouldn't work well, because he is in a building and doesn't know how thick the walls are (or how many walls there are between him and the outside).
    – Oliver_C
    Oct 21, 2012 at 16:21
  • 2
    @Oliver_C - Say that the blast normally is 150 dB (decibels). Bryan knows how sound travels and calculates the sound level of the blast as if he were on the roof of his prison. He figures that the blast should be 120 dB on top of his roof when the wind is blowing towards him and 100dB when it is blowing away from him. He also knows that there are walls which will reduce the sound a bit more. He then hears the blast at 110dB. He then knows that it couldn't have been blowing away from him as then it couldn't have sounded so loud. The only possibility is towards him (120dB) minus walls (-10).
    – Origin
    Oct 21, 2012 at 17:20
  • @Origin - Estimating the influence of "wind" isn't as straightforward as one might first think. How strong is the wind blowing? Is it blowing exactly from west to east, or is it more e.g. northwest to southeast? I'm not saying you are definately wrong, the writers might actually have had the same train of thought as you, but in the real world there are some problems with this solution.
    – Oliver_C
    Oct 22, 2012 at 9:00
  • 1
    I don't remember Bryan asking "How strong is the wind?" But yes, there is no point in complaining about movie physics.
    – Oliver_C
    Oct 22, 2012 at 12:53

what brian did was actually calculate the displacement he travelled from one of the landmark.. So he got an approx distance, as he estimated the speed of vehicle (using sound of engine maybe?), and he counted the time. So distance is speed x time. Plus he noted the turns he made, so it gave him a rough idea of angle. Using simple mathematics (sine rule i guess) to get the displacement. Thats how he got the radius for one of the cirles.. Also, he must be at the circumference as thats his displacement Due to some mistakes, he messed up and made smaller circle with hotel at centre. Then he used grenade as sound travels at speed of nearly 340 m per sec. So, sound took 4.5 secs to get to him. He make another circle using this. Also, he was at cirumference of this circle. Therefore he was at the intersection of two circles. He also noted what turns he made, and so, he guessed he must be at the eastern point. Hope that helped..

  • He didn't guess he was at the eastern point, he clearly uses the wind direction to identify his location
    – Origin
    Oct 21, 2012 at 17:26
  • Also using wind to determine his location IMO is gibberish.. I mean, he is tied up, and in some random room with no way to have much of an outside look.. So think about it, how can one tell if he is oriented east or west? I mean it might be possible that wind is blowing west, and then what he heard was the "delayed" east sound? So, i am pretty sure he calculated direction using turns made.. Also, to support my answer i'd like to say that in many general questions (basic vectors) one is asked similar scenerios..
    – Nick
    Oct 21, 2012 at 22:19
  • @Nick Why does he need Kim to check the wind then BEFORE he can give her a location? If he was just guessing, then he would have just sent her directly, without losing valuable time.
    – Origin
    Oct 22, 2012 at 9:15
  • Point noted well.. But if he knows wind direction is toward east, then how can he distinguish between eastern or western points? All he knows is sound reached him at 4.5 secs and wind direction.. Lets take a situation. Suppose he is at western point, and wind is blowing east. How can he tell that he is at western without knowing time lag at both points of intersection? One can not tell this.. He can not tell if 4.5 secs is after accelerated sound speed or decelerated.. Its only 4.5 secs for him
    – Nick
    Oct 22, 2012 at 16:14
  • You need to learn your original account and learn how to comment. Please consult the FAQ
    – Tablemaker
    Oct 22, 2012 at 16:15

Think about the doppler effect where the sound of a car is high coming towards you and then low going away from you. This is because it is first the speed of sound plus the car and then the speed of sound minus the car. Could be the same principle here. He could hear the actual pitch of the blast on the phone - and then if what he heard 4.5 seconds later was higher in pitch, he would conclude he is downwind and if it were a lower pitch he would conclude he is upwind. From that point he just has to ask his daughter which way the wind is blowing.

  • I doubt he could hear a change in pitch/frequency. An explosion is just a bunch of frequencies mashed together, as there is no clear tone. Phones also don't encode all frequencies (=why people sound different on the phone) and tend to fail when faced with loud noises (try recording yelling on a microfoon), distorting what he might hear. Hearing a slight difference in pitch is very hard give those factors. Maybe I'm just too skepitcal because I gave a different excplanation...
    – Origin
    Nov 4, 2012 at 22:43
  • Also, I'm not quite sure if Doppler applies here. Sound exists of waves being emitted by the source. The frequency of the sound determines the time between 2 waves being emitted (or percieved). Suppose the time between 2 waves is t. If the source moves, then the observer hears a difference in pitch because the percieved t is altered. However, in this situation, t will not change. The explosion will transmit a wave every t seconds and these will all travel to Bryan with the same speed, resulting in him hearing them with every t seconds.
    – Origin
    Nov 4, 2012 at 22:51
  • In order for a doppler effect to occur either the entity causing the sound or entity hearing the sound have to be moving. This was not the case with the grenade explosion. This answer is just completely wrong.
    – Fractional
    Dec 17, 2013 at 16:21

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