Mortal Kombat has always struck me as a very strange action figure license. Despite the mass popularity of the videogame franchise (a brutal, R-rated one, no less), the Mortal Kombat toy lines have never truly shared the same success. From early attempts by Hasbro and Toy Island in the mid-90s, to more modern action figure runs from Jazwares and Mezco, Mortal Kombat action figures have mostly come and gone, like flashes in the toy frying pan.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been some great Mortal Kombat action figures produced over the years. McFarlane and Storm Collectibles are currently showing their love with some fine looking Mortal Kombat lines, the latter diving deep in character selection, much to fan appreciation. One of my favorite lines, however, comes from the over-looked MK series produced in 1999 by Infinite Concepts.
Like the short-lived toy company behind them, Infinite Concepts’ Mortal Kombat figure line consisted of only six characters: Sonya Blade, Mileena (with cool fang reveal), Liu Kang, Shang Tsung, and the two figures featured in this Figure Flashback: fan-favorites Scorpion and Sub-Zero. Aside from the two famed ninjas, the rest of the Kombatants chosen as action figures never impressed me, though I now understand the reasoning behind them. With only two generic base bodies to develop – male and female – Infinite Concepts was allowed to focus on what made these figures truly shine: awesome articulation.
Marketed as C.O.G.J.I.T. (Center of Gravity Joint Integrity Technology), the unique articulation system promised collectors fluid, balanced battle poses, all while keeping the integrity of the figure’s sculpt. C.O.G.J.I.T. might be a mouthful, but I have to admit, Infinite Concepts delivered on their concept. C.O.G.J.I.T. was lightyears ahead of anything being done in action figures at the time. Even more remarkable is that the C.O.G.J.I.T. system is still incredibly unique and relative today – 20 years later. And yes, that is Scorpion balanced kicking on ONE FOOT in the pic I took above.
So what is C.O.G.J.I.T.? It starts with the Mortal Kombat figure’s construction: a tall 8.5-inch, meaty plastic build. I own A LOT of action figures, and the plastic used to make these toys is unlike anything I’ve come across, then or now. Very solid, hefty, well-made stuff. These could have not been cheap figures to produce.
Traditional modern-day joints are all there, including a ball-swivel head and shoulders; cut waist, wrists and thighs; along with hinged ankles, elbows and knees (the latter being precursors to the modern double-joint in sculpted design). What’s different here is the slight rocker action added to the wrists (a subtle inward action), as well as the ankles.
The feet, in particular, are odd in their universal design – a precisely weighted element that – when combined with the figure’s bulk and other joints – gives the C.O.G.J.I.T. system its true meaning. Your first impression, given the static sculpt, is a figure of limited poses. However, once you start playing with the figure, you quickly realize that it all works. There isn’t a pose that feels wrong; from a raised clinched fist ready for the knock out punch or lowered to the side in anticipation of a fight. It is really quite a joy to hold and pose these Mortal Kombat figures. It would be incredible to see this same figure build used today… with the addition of added accessories!
Infinite Concepts lived and died on the strong belief of their product, especially the C.O.G.J.I.T. system. I fondly remember them showing it off at my first Toy Fair in 1999 and marveling over it in person when they kindly sent me samples. While not the most detailed Mortal Kombat figures ever made, Infinite Concepts’ classic Scorpion and Sub-Zero designs really appeal to me. With their large size, beefy construction and insane articulation, these two MK figures still hold a very special place in my collection.
A second series was being developed (shown in prototype form), but never hit the market. These included Jax, Kitana, Reptile, Raiden, Johnny Cage and Goro. It’s such a shame because the four-armed Goro would have been groundbreaking in this figure format.
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