Yesterday I saw Live Free or Die Hard, and I must say that it was an unexpectedly enjoyable film. Good action from earlier movies combined with an unlikely buddy movie element. I was disappointed only with one bit towards the end that overtaxed my suspension of disbelief.
Anyway, not to spoil too much, a mysterious group has hacked into government computers to shut down most public functions - air traffic control, traffic lights, emergency response. They've also messed with communications and stock market computers.
In pushing their terrorist attack, the message was interesting. I can't remember the exact words, but it was stuff like "what if you called the government and no one was there to answer. What if you needed help and government agencies could not help you. You are all alone" This struck me as a thoroughly modern form of attack -- the terrorists cut the welfare state off from the government, forcing them to take responsibility for their own lives, and everyone panics in response.
I remember one line where Bruce Willis says "Surely the government has departments full of people to deal with this kind of thing" and the other character says "it took the government five days after Katrina to get water to the Superdome." Again, the assumption is that as the tools of civilization fail, only the government could put things together again, and they were undermanned. But after Katrina, Wal-Mart and Home Depot had extra inventory in their local stores, with a focus on plywood and generators and the like, in hours rather than days. FEMA on the other hand spent more time after Katrina keeping individuals from helping in New Orleans of their own initiative than doing anything themselves. Civilization was built by individuals, not the government, and if it ever comes to rebuilding it, the same will be true.