Saw the pre-A-Team warmup that is The Losers recently. This movie had everything you’d expect: guns, blowing up stuff, one-liners, the obligatory (though functionally useless) sex scene and the Tough Guy Walk.
Oh, the Tough Guy Walk. As Slow Claps are to teen comedies, the Tough Guy Walk is to action.
The quintessential Tough Guy Walk to me is from Reservoir Dogs, though part of me thinks there could have been one in, like, The Right Stuff or something. And in almost every dramatic/action movie since.
Either way, the Tough Guy Walk signifies something. It usually comes at a key point in the movie, possibly when a “team” has organized, or gelled, or come through a trying ordeal and is resigned to the fact that it must continue to move forward or die.
All very dramatic stuff. Even when its parodied. In fact, parody signifies the power of the motif. For parody usually sets itself as a critique (poking fun) of a particular genre/motif. However, for that critique to work, the thing that is being made fun of must be widely known. Therefore, making fun of it works to also reinforce it (if I understand Jonathan Gray at all …).
Therefore when we see the Tough Guy Walk appear in things like Super Bad or Monsters Inc., we have a laugh because we know that it’s all a harmless joke.
Which brings us back to The Losers, somehow. It includes the obligatory Tough Guy Walk, and when it happens, you just roll your eyes and smile, because it’s a joke within a joke, wrapped in action.
But that may be a little off-topic.